Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tear or ACL sounds like a rare disease, doesn’t it? You’ll be surprised to know that it’s actually a very common injury that can be treated easily with simple treatments. ACL tears often occur while playing sports or when you move suddenly.
ACL tears are seen more often in women than men. But the pointers are the same. Hearing a popping sound from your knee, swelling, a feeling of instability in the knee, pain in the knee are the most common things you experience in an ACL tear.
How can you find out that you have an ACL tear?
Doctors can assess your condition based on physical examination. To understand the correct status of the injury, an MRI might be required.
Simple treatments for ACL Tear
While serious ACL tears do need surgery to correct, minor tears can easily be taken care of by 7 simple treatments which are:
The more you rest the knee, the faster it will heal. When you try to work with an ACL tear, you don’t just put strain on the affected knee but also on the other leg as it is trying to balance the entire weight. You will need to avoid walking, climbing stairs and any other activities that put a strain on your knee till your symptoms ease.
Ice packs work wonders on swollen and painful areas. In the case of an ACL tear also, ice packs bring relief from pain and reduce the swelling in the knee.
The best way to do this is to wrap the ice pack in a towel and apply it on the affected knee. This should be done 3-4 times in a day for about 15 minutes.
A compression sleeve is made from neoprene material. It is a stretchable type of material that slides over your knee. A knee compression is helpful in an ACL tear as it reduces pain, increases blood circulation, gives your knee some warmth and also limits movement of the knee that can cause further damage.
More than anything else, a compression provides support and stability to the knee that you lose with an ACL tear. One caveat though. Remember not to wrap the compression too tight. This will adversely affect the knee by stalling blood circulation instead of helping the injury to heal.
One of the best ways to reduce swelling and bring relief to your knee is to keep it elevated. Here are some tips to achieve the right elevation:
- Lie down on the bed and keep pillows in such a way that your ankle and calf are resting on them
- Your knee should be 12 inches above your heart for best results
- You should not put pillows below your knee. This will restrict knee movement and make things worse
- Your knee should be elevated by 45° from the bed. Only place that many pillows which help you achieve this elevation
- The best way to go about this would be to ask a friend or a family member to arrange the pillows for you
- In case you are not sure if you have elevated your knee correctly, you can buy knee-elevation pillows that provide you the exact elevation your knee needs
Elevating your knee in this way for 15 to 20 minutes twice or thrice in the day brings good relief to your knee.
While resting the knee is extremely important to have a quick recovery, not moving the knee is also dangerous. If your doctor recommends that you should exercise, make a note of them and practice them regularly.
Another way to go about this is to consult a physiotherapist. Doing simple exercises to work your knee into healing and strengthening at the same time. This will help in avoiding injuries in the future. Some exercises like bridging, heel raises, hamstring curls are particularly useful in ACL tears.
Remember not to push yourself and start slow. Going too fast or too rough will do further damage to your knee.
A knee brace is different from a compression. Knee braces provide complete support to the knee. They allow the knee to move only in certain directions and restrict all other movements so that your knee stays protected. When you are not wearing a knee brace, you put pressure on the tear. When you wear a knee brace, they put pressure on other parts of the knee so that there is no strain on your tear.
If you experience too much pain, your doctor will prescribe pain medication to bring it under control. Sometimes, due to the injury, you might have some fever. In this case, medicines are prescribed to take care of the pain, swelling and fever as well.
Remember not to take any medication on your own. Consult your doctor rather than self-medicate.
All these 7 treatments are helpful when practiced in combinations and bring some relief. However, if your tear is a major one, you might have to undergo surgery to correct the injury.
If you experience symptoms of an ACL tear, you should visit the doctor immediately to understand the extent of knee damage. Ignoring the symptoms may lead to severe pain, further tearing or even osteoarthritis. To know more, visit https://ayu.health/bangalore/surgery/acl-tear-16.
This video captures all the information on ACL tear. Check it out at
Over a hundred successful ACL tear treatments have been done at Ayu Health Hospitals. Listen to one of our patients talking about her experience-
Consult top orthopaedician at your nearest Ayu Health hospitals. To book appointment call at 6366100800 or visit www.ayu.health
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About the Author
Dr. Manjunath Kumar K.
He is an orthopedic surgeon currently practicing at Mallige Medical Center, Bangalore. A highly qualified doctor, he has completed his MBBS from Bangalore Medical College and MS in Orthopedics from KIMS, Hubli. further higher surgical training was from England, Birmingham. His post-graduate degree from the royal college of Edinburgh and the Royal College of Ireland. He also has vast experience in treating Unilateral Total Knee Replacement, Bilateral Total, Knee Replacement, Total Hip Replacement Surgery, and ACL Tear