Your knees are the largest joints in your body, and you rely on them from the moment you get out of bed in the morning. When you injure this major joint, it can have a huge impact on your mobility and your daily life.
As both sports medicine and orthopaedic specialists, our team here at Genesis Orthopaedic and Spine has extensive experience helping patients resolve all types of knee issues, from a torn meniscus to a torn ACL.
To help you determine what may be behind the problems in your knee, here’s a look at the top signs of an ACL tear.
The knee — an important and complex joint
Not only are your knees the largest joints in your body, they’re among the most complex. This joint brings together three bones:
- Your kneecap (patella)
- Your thighbone (femur)
- Your shinbone (tibia)
Holding these bones together is a network of soft tissues, including ligaments, tendons, and muscles, and shock-absorbing cartilage called menisci.
The soft tissues primarily responsible for the stability in your knee are four ligaments, which are the tissues that connect bones to other bones. The four ligaments are divided into two collateral ligaments and two cruciate ligaments. The cruciate ligaments criss-cross your knee — one in the front and one in the back — and control the back-and-forth movement in your knees.
All of this brings us to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), which crosses the front part of your knee, keeping your tibia in place and providing stability during rotation. This ligament is more prone to injury because of its location and the stresses that are placed on this tissue, especially during more active pursuits in which there are sudden changes in direction, stops, and jumping.
When the ACL tears
If you incur an ACL tear, the ligament often ruptures completely, which means it’s split into two.
The most common signs of an ACL tear include:
- Swelling (usually within 24 hours)
- Loss of range of motion
- Trouble walking
Unlike degenerative diseases, an ACL tear is an acute injury, so these symptoms develop rapidly. At the time of the injury, you may feel or hear a popping noise in your knee, which is a clear indicator that the ligament is damaged.
After your injury, you may also feel as if your knee is no longer stable, and that it may “give out” any time you take to your feet.
Treating an ACL tear
If you suspect that you have an ACL tear or injury, it’s important that you come see us right away so that we can treat the problem correctly from the start.
If we feel that your ACL tear doesn’t require surgery, we recommend:
Through regenerative medicine, we can supply your ACL with the resources it needs to heal and repair itself.
If your rupture is complete, surgery may be another option for repairing the ligament. Even if your best course of action is surgery, our regenerative medicine practices can still play an invaluable role in helping your tissue to heal more quickly.
If you suspect you have a problem with your ACL, we urge you to contact our office in Westfield, New Jersey, to set up an appointment.