An anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury is a common sports-related knee injury, which can have significant long-term implications if left untreated. Knowing the signs and symptoms of an ACL injury, as well as when to seek medical attention, is an important step for anyone who has suffered an ACL injury. In this blog post, we will discuss the most common symptoms of an ACL injury, as well as when you should see a sports injury specialist for further evaluation and treatment.
A Loud Pop or Popping Sensation in the Knee
A loud pop or a popping sensation in the knee is one of the most common symptoms of an ACL injury. This sound or sensation is often associated with a sudden twist or force being applied to the knee, such as when playing sports or during a fall. When this occurs, it can cause the ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) to tear. This type of injury is especially common among athletes due to their involvement in high-impact activities.
The symptoms associated with an ACL injury can vary depending on the severity and extent of the damage. However, those who experience a loud pop or a popping sensation in the knee should seek medical attention right away as it could be indicative of a more serious injury. During the evaluation, a doctor may conduct imaging tests such as an X-ray or MRI to determine if there is indeed an ACL tear. Treatment will then depend on the diagnosis and may range from physical therapy to surgery.
Immediate Swelling in the Knee
When you suffer an ACL injury, it is common to experience immediate swelling in the knee. This swelling occurs because of the tearing of the blood vessels that supply the ligament, resulting in fluid build-up in and around the knee joint. It is important to address this swelling as soon as possible, as it can lead to increased pain, stiffness, and decreased range of motion.
One way to reduce swelling following an ACL injury is through PRICE therapy, which stands for Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. To practice PRICE therapy, you should protect the injured knee from further injury by using crutches or a brace. You should rest and limit any activity that puts strain on the knee. Ice should be applied for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day. Compression should also be applied using a wrap or bandage to limit further swelling. Finally, it is important to elevate the knee above your heart to reduce the amount of fluid build-up in the knee joint.
Using PRICE therapy in conjunction with prescribed medications and exercises can help reduce swelling following an ACL injury and aid in the healing process. It is important to see a sports injury specialist who can determine if any further treatment is necessary.
Restricted Range of Motion
In the acute stage of the injury, the range of motion will be greatly reduced due to the swelling, inflammation, and pain. However, with proper treatment and rehabilitation, the range of motion should gradually improve over time. Physical therapy exercises can help stretch and strengthen the surrounding muscles, while ice and rest can help reduce the swelling and inflammation. As the knee regains strength and mobility, the range of motion should slowly increase.
It is important to note that although the range of motion in the knee can be improved with treatment and rehabilitation, there is still a chance that the knee may never fully recover. In more severe cases of ACL injury, surgery may be needed to properly repair the ligament.
If you are experiencing restricted range of motion after an ACL injury, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. A sports injury specialist can provide an accurate diagnosis and develop an effective treatment plan to help you regain mobility and function in your knee.
Severe Pain and Inability to Continue Activity
When an ACL injury occurs, the most immediate symptom is usually severe pain. This can range from a dull ache to an intense burning sensation, depending on the severity of the injury. In some cases, the person may not be able to get up and walk or put any weight on their leg. This is because the ligament has either partially or completely torn, resulting in instability of the knee joint. Depending on how serious the injury is, it can also cause swelling and tenderness around the knee area.
If you experience any of these symptoms after an injury, it is important to seek medical attention right away. A Sports Injury specialist will be able to accurately diagnose the extent of your injury and provide
you with the necessary treatment. Without proper care, your ACL injury could lead to long-term pain and instability.
A Feeling of Instability or Giving Way with Weight Bearing
After a few weeks, the pain and swelling associated with an ACL injury will gradually begin to subside. As this happens, the range of motion in the knee should improve. However, for those who have experienced a complete tear of the ACL, a feeling of instability or giving way with weight bearing may remain. This sensation can be particularly worrisome when performing activities that involve cutting and pivoting, such as running, jumping and playing sports.
If you are experiencing ongoing instability in your knee following an ACL injury, it is important to seek treatment from a sports injury specialist. A qualified specialist can assess your injury and provide the right treatment plan to help restore the stability of your knee. Treatment may involve strengthening exercises, bracing, physical therapy and, in some cases, surgery. By working with a specialist to create an effective treatment plan, you can increase your chances of getting back to your favorite activities without risking further injury.
“The Cruciates” is a team of highly experienced and skilled surgeons who are in the sports medicine field from a long time and have dealt with complicated sports injuries. Dr. Nagendra Prasad one of the best arthroscopic surgeons in India leads the team. The Cruciates is committed to delivering high-quality services and would like to make sure that, you are satisfied with our work. The team Cruciates provides customized treatment and follow-up to each patient to make sure that everyone will achieve the desired level of recovery and rehabilitation to ensure an early return to sports.