Participating in a sport or activity that involves sudden twisting movements, or quick stops and changes in direction can render you susceptible to overstretching and tearing your anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). The ACL is one of the key ligaments in your knee that gives it stability and controls its back-and-forth movements.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of an ACL tear (e.g., severe knee pain, crepitus (popping sensation), limited range of motion, buckling, and swelling), your orthopedic doctor will perform a thorough assessment to determine the extent of the damage and recommend the suitable treatment option.
Like sprains, ACL tears are classified by grades. Grade 1 or mild ACL tears respond well to conservative interventions, such as R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) therapy, bracing, and physical therapy. Grade 2 or partial ACL tears do not always require surgery, but if you’re experiencing severe pain or your orthopedic doctor notices significant knee instability, they will likely recommend surgery. Grade 3 or complete ligament tears definitely warrant surgical intervention (ACL reconstruction), as the ligament is split into two pieces and is no longer capable of providing stability to the knee.
If your orthopedic doctor deems that you require surgical treatment for your ACL tear, consider the tips below to ensure you recover quickly, comfortably, and successfully.
1.) Strictly adhere to your orthopedic doctor’s postoperative instructions.
Following your surgery, your doctor will likely advise that you eliminate strenuous and excessive weight-bearing activities for a specific period of time (usually up to six months), depending on the severity of your injury and state of health.
Take your medications as prescribed and rest. It might be tempting to get impatient and rush the healing process, but neglecting your doctor’s orders can prove counterproductive and, worse, set off a cascade of knee problems and complications.
2.) Take physical therapy seriously.
Two weeks following your surgery, you will likely begin your physical therapy program, which is aimed at strengthening the muscles that support your knee, increasing your range of motion, improving your ability to put weight on your knee, controlling your knee movements, and providing pain relief.
Physical therapy exercises can seem tedious and boring, but it is imperative that you take an active role in your care. It’s one thing to do your exercises during office visits; it’s another to be diligent enough to complete your physical therapist’s prescribed exercises at home. The difference between patients who quickly recover and those whose rehabs go beyond the average time is the commitment that they put into performing their home exercises.
If you do less than your PT prescribed, you won’t be able to build the foundational strengths that enable your knee to absorb more stress. As a result, you run the risk of reinjuring your ACL and slowing down your recovery altogether.
- Be intentional about your nutrition.
Anytime the body is healing from an illness or injury, it uses more nutrients and energy than it usually does. You need to have up to 20 calories per pound of your body weight to enable your body to regrow damaged tissue and repair the affected ligament.
Thus, during your recovery, it’s imperative that you mind what you eat and how much you eat and make sure you’re consuming the right amount of the following nutrients, which are beneficial for your healing:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
Treatment for Torn ACL in Merriam, KS
At Midwest Orthopaedics, our highly qualified orthopedic doctors work in tandem with our physical therapists to deliver unmatched quality of care and guide scores of patients through quick, safe, and comfortable recoveries from a wide variety of acute and chronic orthopedic problems—including ACL tears.
To see one of our orthopedic doctors, give us a call at (913) 362-8317. If you prefer us calling you instead to arrange your appointment, please out this secure form, and we will contact you as soon as possible.