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ACL, ACL Tear, Anterior Cruciate Ligament, Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tears, Knee Pain, I'move, Imove, Physical Therapy, Physical Therapy Near Me, Physical Therapists Near Me

Understanding & Preventing Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Tears

ACL tears are a common injury that can affect individuals of all ages and activity levels. Whether you’re an athlete or simply enjoy staying active, understanding what causes ACL tears and how to prevent them is crucial for maintaining your overall health and well-being. In this blog post, we will explore the causes of ACL tears, the recommended treatments, the role of physical therapy before and after surgery, and how to prevent this debilitating injury from occurring in the first place.

What is an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Tear?

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the major ligaments in the knee that provides stability during movement. It works to control the amount of forward movement from the tibia (bone in the lower leg) relative to the femur (bone in the thigh). An ACL tear occurs when this ligament is stressed beyond its capabilities. Often, this occurs during sudden stops or changes in direction. It can also occur from contact, such as someone landing on the knee, forcing the knee into a position that exceeds the capabilities of the ACL. ACL injuries are commonly seen in sports that require pivoting or cutting movements such as soccer, basketball, and football. However, ACL tears can also occur during everyday activities such as stepping off a curb or twisting your knee awkwardly.

What are the Factors that Cause an ACL Tear?

There are several factors that can increase your risk of experiencing an ACL tear. These include having weak muscles around the knee and hip, mechanical faults during physical activities that put the knee in more vulnerable positions, previous knee injuries, and genetics. Women are also at a higher risk of sustaining an ACL sprain compared to men due to differences in anatomy and hormone levels. Research also shows playing sports on turf surfaces can increase the incidence of non-contact injuries, including ACL tears, when compared to playing on grass.

How Does Physical Therapy Help?

Physical therapy plays a crucial role in both preventing and recovering from an ACL tear. Prior to surgery, working on the range of motion and strength of the knee has been shown to improve surgical outcomes. After surgery, physical therapy is essential for restoring range of motion, strength, stability, and function to the injured knee. A skilled physical therapist will work with you to create a customized treatment plan tailored to your specific needs and goals. i’move physical therapists have innovative solutions to utilize in the treatment plan, such as the Alter G anti-gravity treadmill and Blood Flow Restriction (BFR).

What are the Treatment Options for ACL Tears?

In terms of treatment options for ACL tears, there are both surgical and non-surgical approaches available depending on the severity of the injury. Surgical reconstruction involves replacing the torn ligament with a graft from another part of your body or a donor. Non-surgical treatment may be recommended for individuals with partial tears or those who are not as physically active. Your healthcare provider will assess your individual situation and recommend the most appropriate course of action.

Can you Prevent an ACL Tear?

There are numerous strategies one can implement to help decrease the likelihood of sustaining an ACL tear. Individuals should go through a thorough warm-up before participating in physical activities. Improving strength and addressing mobility restrictions in the lower extremities can help improve biomechanics with physical activities and reduce strain on the knee. Athletes should participate in a training program that is designed to address their weaknesses and prepare them for the demands of their sport.

Understanding how ACL tears occur, what factors contribute to their onset, recommended treatment options, and the role of physical therapy is essential information that everyone should be aware of regardless if you’re an athlete or just someone who enjoys being active on a daily basis. Stay informed about ways to minimize risks associated with sustaining an ACL tear so you can continue enjoying all types of sports without fear.

Schedule a consultation with one of our physical therapists today to get started on your journey to being pain-free!

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