Your Guide To Understanding The Details Of Your ACL Injury

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An unfortunate fact of getting older is that sometimes you will have a few unexpected pains, even if you eat right, are at a healthy weight, and exercise regularly. However, if your knee is injured and severe pain occurs from it, or you heard a popping sound when the injury occurred, it's best to see your knee pain doctor right away. If you are tempted to recover at home as you might with minor sprains, but you're experiencing major pain and cannot walk, you should be aware of the facts shared below about damage to the ACL:

Do You Understand The Role Of The Anterior Cruciate Ligament?

One of the more common and most serious injuries to the knee involves damage to the ACL. The ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament, is one of four major ligaments that permit the movement of the knee. In addition, the hinge joint that allows your knee to maintain its functionality and continued movement is supported by the ACL.

It is easy to see that if the ACL is compromised, injured, or ripped, your knee will not be able to work as it should. Damage to that important ligament often occurs following a severe fall or injury. Physical therapy, in lieu of or in addition to surgery, is frequently recommended to regain strength and mobility to the injured area.   

Did You Hear A Popping Sound And Notice Significant Pain Soon After?

Although both partial and complete tears to the ACL are painful and serious injuries, the complete tear almost always needs surgical intervention in order to get better. It is important to note that there are three different gradings that pertain to that type of injury. A third-degree is a complete severing of the ligament and the overwhelming amount of pain it results in is hard to miss. It is the most severe form of ACL damage and if not treated, has the potential to result in long-term damage and limited mobility.   

Is The Pain Very Bad But Bearable?

If you are diagnosed with a second-degree ACL injury, it means that somewhere in the ligament there is a partial tear. Unfortunately, the second-degree tear can be difficult to quantify, given that it can be a very small or one that rips almost through the majority of the affected ligament. The extent of the damage, any previous injuries to the area, your age and your recovery in the days and weeks after the incident can impact whether or not surgical intervention is necessary. 

Did You Did Not Hear A Pop, But You Have Excess Pain?

A first-degree ACL injury is diagnosed when the ligament or its components were pulled, stretched too far, or otherwise impaired. It is still quite painful and is likely to keep you sitting on the bench instead of in the game for the foreseeable future. Fortunately, current medical recommendations don't include surgical intervention on a first-degree ACL unless other measures fail or the injury worsens. However, if you put weight on a first-degree injury of the ACL before you should or if you fail to comply with your doctor's recovery instructions, further damage that might require surgery can occur.      

In conclusion, knee pain is not always problematic and can be a normal part of getting older.  However, when it is a problem, it can be a very big and painful problem. As a result, you need to know when you should see a knee pain doctor or another specialist about it or when just taking it easy for a day or two is all that is necessary. The information discussed above will allow you to make that determination. 

Contact a medical center like Pottstown Surgical Associates for more information and assistance.