Your knee joint is held together in part by your ACL (anterior cruciate ligament). Stress can cause your ACL to tear, either partially or completely.
ACL tears often occur when you put pressure on your knee by engaging in athletic activity. You can also experience an ACL injury as a result of trauma affecting your knee. Suddenly going from moving to stopping or rapidly changing direction can cause your ACL to tear. Direct blows to your knee can also result in ACL injury.
ACL tears need professional medical care to heal. If you experience any of these signs and symptoms of an ACL injury, get in touch with Dr. Joseph L Humpherys and the team of orthopedic surgeons and sports medicine experts at Rapid City Orthopedics. Dr. Humpherys helps people in Rapid City, South Dakota.
Not all ACL injuries cause immediate pain — but most do. If you sprain, strain, or tear your ACL, you’re likely to experience immediate, sudden and intense pain.
Without medical attention, you could experience lasting joint damage, increasing your risk of re-injury.
2. A popping sensation
As your ACL tears, you may feel a distinct “popping” sensation. Some people even hear a popping sound at the time of an ACL injury! That disconcerting experience is one of the hallmarks of this type of knee injury.
3. Post-injury swelling
After an ACL injury, your knee joint may react to the impact of the trauma with noticeable swelling. If your knee swells after a fall, hard landing, or another injury, you need to get checked for potential ACL problems.
You can use the RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) protocol to address swelling immediately after your injury. Rest the affected limb, use icing therapy to reduce swelling, wrap the damaged knee in a compression bandage, and keep the limb elevated above your heart.
4. Loss of knee stability
Without the ligament holding the front part of your knee together, your joint loses stability. Many people find that their knee immediately goes out from under them after an ACL tear. You may also struggle with lasting knee instability if you don’t get treatment.
5. Loss of knee strength
Your knee may buckle after an ACL injury. You may also notice a reduced range of motion. Loss of function in your knee joint can even compromise your ability to walk.
For the help you need to completely recover from an ACL tear or sprain, contact Dr. Humpherys at Rapid City Orthopedics as soon as possible. Dr. Humpherys begins your treatment with a thorough medical exam and review of your medical history.
Depending on the severity of your injury and your future activity goals, you may be able to recover with rest and bracing, or you may need surgery to repair your torn ACL.
For help with ACL injuries and tears, schedule an appointment at Rapid City Orthopedics online or over the phone today.