Any injury can be frustrating as it puts you out of action. However, while some injuries are relatively mild and heal by themselves, others leave you wondering if you will ever recover. An ACL injury definitely falls into the latter category. It’s also a very common injury.
ACL stands for Anterior Cruciate Ligament. It is a ligament that sits at the front of your knee, effectively connecting your thigh bone to your shin. There are several tendons and bones in your knee, along with four primary ligaments.
The ACL is the most prone to injury as it sits at the front of your knee. Its role is to stop forward movement and the rotation of the shin bone on the thigh bone.
Injury to the ACL is usually described as a tear. There are three grades:
This is the least severe type of injury when the ligament has been stretched but it still works properly.
It’s not often that people suffer a grade two injury. It’s when the ligament is stretched and partially torn but still works, although it’s painful.
The most severe of the grades is three, when your ligament has been torn completely. In other words, it’s now in two pieces.
It’s worth noting that an ACL injury can happen at any age although women are more prone to it than men.
Dealing With An ACL Injury
If you’ve suffered a grade one or two injury then the knee will need to be supported. The ligament will repair itself over time.
During that period you’ll need to rest your knee as much as possible. But, it is still important to be mobile. Some people will prefer to use crutches as a support in case their knee gives out.
If the injury is grade three then you’re likely to need surgery. This involves using a tendon in your body to reconstruct your ligament; The surgery is surprisingly not invasive, just a small cut to your knee.
The Recovery Process
The good news is that you can make a full recovery from your ACL injury. The bad news is that it takes time.
In the first instance, you’ll need to keep your surgery wound clean and dry.
To make a full recovery you need to visit a reputable physiotherapist, such as this physio Alexandria. They will devise a personal program for you, starting with range-of-motion exercises and advancing to strengthening and then weight-bearing exercises.
After approximately 12 weeks you’ll be able to start sport-specific activities. These are defined by your physio, but it doesn’t mean you can start your favorite sport again. In fact, it can take 6-9 months before you can return to sport.
The recovery process is different for everyone but it does take time and patience. However, sticking to the exercises provided will help to ensure you regain full movement and strength in your spine. While you can re-tear your ACL, the risk is surprisingly low, at just 5-7%.