Cruciate Ligament Injury! Athletes Nightmare, Meaning, Ways To Manage And Avoid It

Ruptured cruciate ligament

Anterior cruciate ligament injury is arguably the worst injury an athlete will wish to experience in his/her career reports.

What is Anterior cruciate ligament? The Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the key ligaments that help stabilise the knee joint.

Anterior cruciate ligament injury, athletes Nightmare.
Diagrammatical illustration of cruciate ligament.

The Cruciate Ligament as explained by Mayoclinic is a pair ligament that help the knee stay stable. The names of the ligaments are Anterior and posterior cruciate ligament. Interestingly, they’re arranged in a crossed formation.

In this article we will be focusing our discussion on the Anterior Cruciate Ligament

An ACL injury is a tear or sprain of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), one of the strong bands of tissue that help connect your thigh born ( femur) to your shinebone ( tibia).

ACL injuries occurs mostly during sports, that involves sudden stops or changes in direction, jumping, and landing. Such as soccer, basketball, football and downhill skiing.

* Symptoms and signs of an ACL injury usually includes?

° A loud pop or a “popping” sensation in the knee
° Severe pain and inability to continue activity
° Rapid swelling
° Loss of range of motion
° A feeling of instability with weight bearing
° Tenderness along the joint line
° Discomfort while walking
° Pain with swelling. within 24hours your knee will swell.

* Causes of ACL?

The Anterior Cruciate Ligaments can be injured in several ways
° Changing direction rapidly
° Stopping suddenly
° Slowing down while running
° Landing from a jump incorrectly
° Direct contact or collision, such as a football tackle.

When the ligament is damaged, there is usually a partial or complete tear of the tissue.

* Can Anterior Cruciate Ligament tear heal without surgery?

A very minor tear(sprain) may heal with no surgical treatments and regenerative medical therapy. But full ACL tear cannot be healed without surgery.

Ruptured cruciate ligament
Rupture anterior cruciate ligament.

* What are the nonsurgical treatment for Anterior Cruciate Ligament tear?
° Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.
Using rest, ice, compression and elevation, also referred to as the RICE regimen, as soon as possible after injuring your knee can help reduce pain and swelling.
° Prop the knee above the level of your heart
° Compress the knee with a bandage or wrap
° Reduce or stop activities for weeks
° Take anti-inflammatory drugs – such as ibuprofen, to lessen swelling and speed up recovery.

However, the best way to treat a cruciate ligament injury especially a completely severed ligament is through surgery.

Orthopedic surgeons are the best hands to handle such surgical exercise, and monitor it until full rehabilitation.

* How long does it take ACL tear to heal without surgery?

For nonsurgical treatment, the recovery time is shorter when using rehabilitation and will need to be monitored by your orthopedist. And may take approximately 3 months to heal.

In case of surgery, ligament injury may take at least six months before an athlete can be cleared to return to action.

*When to see a doctor?

If any injury to your knee causes signs or symptoms of an ACL injury, then you have to immediately seek care.

The knee joint is a complete structure of bones, ligaments, tendon and other tissues that work together. It’s very important to get a prompt and accurate diagnosis to determine the severity of the injury and get proper treatment.

Over the years athletes around the world especially footballers, who run around the pitch most times are prone to cruciate ligament injury.

In the past some popular footballers like, Bentancur (of Tottenham), Victor Boniface ( Bayer 04 Leverkusen), Umar Sadiq (Real Sociedad), Thibaut Courtois(Real Madrid), Owen Hargreaves (ex Manchester United and Bayern Munich player), Ronaldo Nazario De Lima (Ex real Madrid player) have all suffered from a cruciate ligament injury.

Athletes are advised to seek medical attention on time when they experience any form of pain in their knee or lower limb.

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