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Gaining A Greater Understanding Of ACL Injuries

Persons who watched Monday Night Football last night were able to witness how some athletes can bounce back from a brutal ACL injury, but it’s important to note that anyone could be susceptible to a tear of their anterior cruciate ligament.  The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons estimates that the rates of such injuries have tripled in the past 13 years.

All kinds of athletes could incur a tear of their ACL, but it’s becoming increasingly understood that, for whatever reason, women may be more at risk for men.  Of the nearly one million injuries that sent someone to the doctor in 2010, about 25% are estimated to have been women, but because sports participation is more common among men, it becomes clear that women are more in danger of a tear of some sort.

A new report delves into all of this information and also explains how to identify an injury to the ACL and what can be done once such an injury occurs.  While surgery is indeed a possibility, it’s not always the only option, and knowing the facts can help an injured athlete make the right decision.

First, perhaps an introduction to what the ACL actually is is in order.  The ACL is a ligament that runs from a person’s thigh all the way down to their shin, running through the knee’s center in the process.

Persons in the midst of a workout or a competition need to be aware of what could be indicative of an injury to this part of the body.  When an ACL tears, it’s likely going to be accompanied by a notable popping sound and intense pain (although pain isn’t always going to be readily apparent).  The area of the knee could swell or bruise, and you might notice that your kneecap looks like it’s not in the correct spot.  Bending will be exceedingly difficult at this point.

Once a doctor concludes that an ACL tear has indeed taken place, the appropriate course of action will hinge on what you hope to achieve upon healing.  Light exercise should still be possible following a tear of the ACL, and a doctor or trainer can help ensure you’re maintaining a regimen that won’t exacerbate the issue.

If you want to get back to 100%, though (if you’re an athlete, for instance), then surgery might be your best option despite the lengthy rehabilitation process.  Once the graft necessary to fix the tear is in place, you’ll have to submit to rehab for around half a year or more.  You’ll be asked to put increasing amounts of weight on the ligament and then eased back into your activity of choice.  After about a year, if all goes according to plan, you should be back up to optimal condition.


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