The anterior cruciate ligament crosses your knee joint, joining the upper and lower leg. The main function of the ACL ligament is to stabilize the knee. ACL injuries are the most common knee injuries, especially seen in athletes. The injury can range from minor to severe. Mild instances are characterized by a minor tear in the ligament tissue. Severe damage can involve a complete rupture of the ligament and a slight bone separation. When this happens, there is a chance that other parts of the knee, such as the cartilage or meniscus, will also be injured.
How is the ACL injured?
An unnatural knee movement most commonly causes an ACL injury. This might be where the knee joint is suddenly twisted or pushed rearward. These motions are typically caused by a foot being planted in one location and then smacked with force on the knee or by a sudden shift in movement. Contact activities or sports with twisting motions, as well as shoes with cleats or high heels, are the leading causes of these injuries.
ACL injury: Symptoms
An anterior cruciate ligament tear is indicated by the individual hearing a popping sound at the time of the injury. Within the first few hours following the occurrence, the knee will often swell, and discomfort will develop around the outer and rear of the knee. The knee may also become unstable, making it difficult to bend, which is called buckling.
ACL injury: Treatment
These injuries are treated mainly by immobilization and physical therapy. The chance of future injuries is lowered by strengthening the knee joint. Surgical solutions for ACL damage and injuries are only used as a last resort in this situation. The initial few weeks following ACL restoration surgery are the most significant in terms of long-term outcomes. Getting off to a solid start with any shoulder or knee reconstructive surgery may cut months off the recovery period. Similarly, starting off to a sluggish start might add months to the healing process.
Here are the seven most crucial things to think about during the first few weeks of ACL rehabilitation; however, it is essential to seek your doctor's advice before putting the below tips to practice:
1. Manage your pain
Most people hesitate to take painkillers, but high degrees of pain prevent you from performing the appropriate activities. Simple analgesics (Panadol and anti-inflammatories) are used daily, and heavier narcotic medicines are added as needed. Avoid taking OTC (over-the-counter medications/painkillers); the medicines are prescribed by the doctor and must be taken accordingly.
2. Lower the swelling
Swelling is part of the inflammatory response caused by surgical trauma. It causes joint stiffness and muscular atrophy. Rest, ice, compression, and elevation relieve swelling (RICE). Wear a compression sleeve on the knee for as long as the swelling lasts, which might be a few days to a few weeks.
Icing is a must in the early phases. Three to four 15-minute workouts each day are ideal. The GameReady technology, employed by professional sports teams, produces excellent outcomes. It is available for lease via various physiotherapists.
3. Restore leg straightening
The most critical thing after ACL restoration surgery is to have a straight knee (referred to as an extension). However, you must first control your discomfort and minimize swelling to pull it out completely straight. Repeat the extension stretch exercise throughout the day. If you're laying down or sitting, extend your leg straight and put your heel on a cushion to gently press the knee straight. Stretching activities are low-load, long-duration workouts. Hold the stretch.
A limp is caused by a knee that does not fully straighten. To gauge your improvement from week to week, lie flat on your back and try to place your hand beneath your knee. You cannot slide your hand between the back of your knee and the bed at the end of week six. At the absolute least, the knee should be completely straight by the end of week twelve.
4. Start knee bending exercises
Knee bending (or flexion) difficulty is substantially less prevalent after ACL restoration. Bending the knee is relatively safe, and the physiotherapist will put you on the CPM (continuous passive motion) machine the day following surgery. The bending will not return unless you gently push it back. The rehabilitation regimen begins with the drop and dangle exercise.
5. Don't forget the knee cap
Kneecap discomfort (patellofemoral pain) is the bane of ACL therapy. The kneecap is sometimes injured due to the original injury. Nonetheless, patella discomfort is more often than not the result of post-surgical tightness of the knee's outer tissues and quadriceps weakening. The medial patellofemoral gliding stretches are an essential part of early treatment. The ITB (Ilio-tibial band) should be massaged, and if necessary, an ITB roller should be used in conjunction with regular ITB stretches.
6. Start with QUADS
With age, your quadriceps muscles begin to weaken and become less effective. Generally, six weeks of rehabilitation is required to reverse one week of quad waste. So, start working on those quads right away. Straight leg lifts are the most satisfactory early workout, and there is no limit to how many you may perform each day.
7. The Walk
As simple as it may seem, getting back to normal weight bearing after a week on crutches is a huge accomplishment. It is critical to utilize crutches and bear partial weight during the first week. However, muscle loss will occur quickly if you continue to use crutches. With each step, you engage the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles and begin to restore normal neuromuscular function.
8. Core strengthening
In shoulder and knee reconstruction, the success rate of an operation is 50% surgery and 50% rehabilitation. After the procedure, it's all about recovery. CORE workout programs are exactly what they sound like: a core strategy for your complete recovery. It includes muscles of your lower back like the glutes and muscles of the abdominals. They provide the force for initiating any movement of lower or upper limbs. Therefore, the stronger the core, the better and quicker your recovery is.
Anyone who is active and enjoys sports knows how vital the ACL is. Most athletes may return to their prior level of functioning thanks to recent breakthroughs in diagnosing, treating, and managing ACL injuries. Cured.com's healing advice will help you get there faster. However, before following these guidelines, you should check with your doctor to avoid unwanted complications.From the Web