Almost every sport requires running or putting pressure on the knees, but too much impact on the knee can cause a partial or full tear of a supportive ligament in the joint. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is the most vulnerable knee ligament due to its position out in front – it crosses over the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), and together they form an “X” shape and stabilize the knee.
The ACL connects from the bottom of the femur (thighbone) in back to the top of the tibia (shinbone) in front. Likewise, the PCL connects those bones in the same way but is behind the ACL, which is why it is called “posterior.” These ligaments help to prevent extreme rotation while permitting a certain amount of rotation.
Let’s talk about the types of treatment for a torn ACL, depending on how severe the injury is:
Steps to Treat a Torn ACL
One of the best ways to first self-treat an orthopedic injury such as an ACL tear is through the RICE method, which is an acronym that stands for:
If you suspect that you may have a torn ACL, try to prevent the knee from bending at all. Rest it and keep it elevated. Apply ice as quickly as possible in order to reduce swelling; however, be sure not to let the ice pack be in direct contact with your skin in order to avoid frostbite. Wrap the knee to keep it gently compressed.
If you try to stand up but the knee cannot bear weight, use crutches or a cane if possible. Make an appointment with an orthopedic physician for an evaluation.
What to Expect from an Orthopedic Exam
If this is your first time seeing an orthopedist, the doctor will review your medical history and examine your knee. The physician will also ask you about what you were doing when it occurred and whether the knee made a noise when it happened.
The orthopedic surgeon may have you get an MRI or other diagnostic imaging scan. If the injury is only a partial tear, the doctor will likely give you instructions and refer you for physical therapy. If you have a full ACL tear, you may require surgery.
What Is Involved in Knee Surgery?
The good news is that this operation can now be done as an outpatient procedure. Most ACL repairs are done arthroscopically, which requires less downtime and offers a quicker recovery period than traditional ACL surgery.
Arthroscopic surgery only requires two or three tiny incisions. The surgeon will insert the arthroscope, which is a thin tube with a fiber-optic viewer at the end that sends images to the surgeon’s nearby monitor. The doctor can then use small tools to evaluate and make repairs to the knee.
Knee Surgeon in Little Rock
If you have a knee injury, arthritis, or some other type of musculoskeletal pain or injury, schedule a consultation with Dr. William Hefley at Bowen Hefley Orthopedics today.
Contact our friendly team by calling us at (800) 336-2412 or request an appointment online, and let us help you get your knee back into shape – so you can get back to enjoying the life you love.