Cruciate Ligament Injuries: The ACL
The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), is one of four very important and integral parts comprising the structure of the knee. Of the four ligaments holding together the integrity of the knee joint, the ACL tends to be the one most commonly torn in sports-related injuries. Labeled as anterior ligament, the ACL is found toward the front side of the knee. The ACL joins the bottom of the femur – thigh bone – to the tibia – shin bone. The ACL is an important internal stabilizer of the knee joint – restraining hyperextension – the injury resulting when its biomechanical limits are exceeded/over-stretched.
Injuries to the ACL are prevalent primarily among athletes. Most commonly, those athletes participating in:
- Martial Arts
These are sports requiring the athlete to make sudden twisting or pivoting movements, while keeping the feet firmly planted in one spot. This is known as torsion – intensely pivoting while holding the feet in a solid position – which places great strain on the knee. A loud popping sound is typically heard when this movement damages the ACL.
Partial or complete tear of the ACL, can occur over time or immediately:
- Repetitive swiveling on the knee
- Sudden blows to the knee
Damage to the ACL caused by sudden blows will result in immediate pain and swelling. Spine and Sports Medicine Medical Director, Dr. Brian Kessler, advises one suffering from an ACL injury to seek immediate Sports Medicine Treatment and refrain from moving the knee after the injury.
Accurate Diagnosis of ACL Tear
Only a licensed Doctor of Physical Therapy has the ability to diagnose and treat an ACL tear to the knee. If one’s ACL injury is not diagnosed properly, the best treatment will be worthless.
A thorough diagnosis requires:
- Expert physical examination of the knee
- Analysis of the patient’s medical history
- Explanation and assessment of the circumstances surrounding the cause of the injury
For serious ACL tears, an X-Ray or MRI is likely to be ordered to determine the extent of bone or ligament damage. This is especially true when the patient does not seek immediate medical after the injury and additional damage has been sustained due to movement of the knee. Unstable ligaments holding the knee joint together allow cartilage to rub together through movement. This cartilage will become worn and cause irreparable damage to the knee, such as osteoarthritis. Determining whether or not orthopedic surgery is necessary, imaging tests must be ordered to detect the full scope of damage to the knee post-injury and passage of time.
Pre and Post ACL Surgery Therapy Rehabilitation
The Multidisciplinary Therapeutic Treatment Team at Spine and Sports Medicine have the specialization to stabilize and rehabilitate your torn ACL pre- and post-surgery. Extensive Physical Therapy is essential both before and after ACL surgery for one’s injury to heal properly. If instability of the knee persists – especially rotary instability – progressive and degenerative arthritis of the knee will ensue.
The ACL End-Game
If you have injured your knee from a sudden twisting or pivoting movement and heard a loud pop upon impact, it is important that you see a medical professional immediately. Further damage to the ACL can ensue if left unattended causing instability and permanent problems within the knee joint. The Multidisciplinary Team of Therapeutic Experts at Spine and Sports Medicine have the education and practical experience to make informed diagnosis of ACL injuries. Through a personalized physical therapy program, they will guide you through a comprehensive rehabilitation program to get you back on track toward a pain free life.
Medical Insurance Coverage for ACL Diagnosis and Treatment
At Spine and Sports Medicine, there is no requirement for you to obtain an outside primary physician referral to have the cost of your ACL diagnosis and physical therapy treatment covered by your insurance plan. Most insurance plans cover the cost of diagnosing and treating ACL injuries. Our insurance experts will help you to determine your coverage and assist in processing your claims.
Discover Multidisciplinary Therapeutic ACL Treatment in One Convenient Location
If you have experienced an ACL injury – and have been delaying seeking treatment for your pain and discomfort – reach out to the Multidisciplinary Team of Physical Therapy Experts at Spine and Sports Medicine by clicking below or calling 212.986.3888. Remember – delaying treatment will only worsen your ACL injury. Discover pain relief for your knee through the benefits of a multidisciplinary therapeutic practice in one convenient Midtown Manhattan location – at Madison Avenue and 40th Street.