Knee injuries are common in athletes who play sports such as basketball, soccer, skiing, and football. But, many knee injuries happen to people who don’t play sports. It’s important to know how to take care of your knees to avoid injuries, and what to do if you do get hurt.
Your knee includes the thigh bone (femur), shin bone (tibia), and your kneecap (patella). There are a group of ligaments that hold these bones in place and make your knee move properly. The most common knee injury involves the anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL. This ligament runs diagonally through the middle of your knee, helps control the movement of your knee, and provides stability to the joint.
Symptoms of an ACL tear
If you are running and suddenly stop or change direction, you can sprain or tear your ACL. It can also happen as a result of an impact, such as a tackle or falling on your knee, overextending the knee, or landing hard from a jump.
Symptoms of an ACL injury may include:
- Feeling your knee “give out”
- Hearing a popping noise in your knee
- Pain with swelling
- Inability to bend the knee completely
If you think you may have injured your knee, it’s important to see an orthopedic physician. Do not keep playing, and ice the knee as soon as possible. Your physician will discuss what happened at the time of injury, and may run a series of tests to assess its severity.
After your physician has evaluated the injury, he or she will discuss next steps for pain relief and regaining use of your knee. Some of your recommended treatment may include:
- Knee brace and/or crutches. This can provide extra stability and keep the injury from getting worse.
- Physical therapy. A therapist can work with you to strengthen your muscles and regain some of your knee’s normal function.
- ACL repair surgery. ACL tears typically need to be reconstructed with a graft, using part of another ligament in your body. The surgery has high success rate and when performed by a qualified orthopedic surgeon. Be sure to follow your physician’s instructions for care of your knee after surgery, as it takes time to fully recover.
In many cases, an ACL tear will not heal without surgery. Active people and athletes will typically need surgical repair of the ACL to regain strength and stability of the knee. However, people who are not very active, such as older patients, may find relief with nonsurgical options.
CarePoint Health Orthopedic Services
The skilled orthopedic surgeons at CarePoint Health are experienced in treating ACL injuries and all types of orthopedic conditions. For more information about CarePoint Health’s comprehensive orthopedic care, please contact us.
Content on our website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911. Always consult your physician before making any changes to your medical treatment.