Torn ACL & MCL

The ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament, is a part of the knee that controls the movement and rotation of the knee joint. A torn ACL is one of the most common knee injuries and often occurs by a sudden twisting or rotating of the knee. If you suspect that you may have a torn ACL or MCL, contact our office at AICA Orthopedics for diagnosis and treatment from our friendly staff and team of multiple doctors that specialize in treating ACL and MCL injuries.

A torn ACL is a typical sports-related injury as athletes often twist and turn their knees while playing, or they try to change directions quickly with a planted foot, which puts pressure on the ACL. The MCL, or medial collateral ligament, is located on the inside of the knee, and its primary job is to keep the knee from turning outward. The most common MCL injury is incurred from a blow to the outside of the knee or a harsh landing after a jump.

However, a torn ACL or torn MCL can also happen because of everyday movements as well. Whether you are an athlete who is ready to get back to playing your favorite sport again or just someone looking to fully recover from a knee injury, AICA Orthopedics wants to help.

Symptoms of a Torn ACL & MCL

Symptoms of a torn ACL or MCL can vary based on the severity of your injury. Many people report feeling a “pop” when they have injured their ACL. You may also experience swelling of the knee, severe pain, an inability to perform physical activity, loss of range of motion, or weakness and instability when trying to bear weight on your knee.

Causes of a Torn ACL & MCL

Fitness or sports injuries can cause a torn ACL or a torn MCL. These types of injuries can be caused by suddenly slowing down and changing direction, jumping and landing wrong, pivoting, stopping quickly, or receiving a heavy blow to the knee, such as a tackle. Mild damage may just stretch the ligament too much, but more serious damage to the ACL or MCL can result in either a partial tear or a complete tear.



Diagnosis of Torn MCL or Torn ACL

Most of the time, an orthopedic specialist can make a diagnosis simply by performing a physical examination as they check for swelling and tenderness. But more diagnostic tests are often done to fully understand the extent of your injury and confirm the original suspicion of a torn ACL or torn MCL:

  • X-Rays can rule out possible bone fractures but they don’t show ligaments or muscles.
  • An MRI can show the hard and soft tissue in your body which will give doctors a clear picture of the injury to your knee.
  • An ultrasound can also show the damage done to the ligaments, muscles, and tendons around your knee.

Diagnosing your ACL or MCL tear is crucial in determining what type of treatment is required for complete healing. Orthopedic specialists at AICA Orthopedics in Atlanta have advanced technology to get an accurate and clear picture of the tear in your knee so that they can move forward with a recommendation for comprehensive treatment.

Diagnostics

x-ray

A torn ligament can be painful, but treatable when properly diagnosed. Your physician will likely order an x-ray to be certain that no fractures have occurred which might contribute to the pain you experience.

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MRI

Once a fracture is ruled out, your doctor is apt to request an MRI scan, which will show your soft tissue damage to various ligaments, tendons, and musculature through the use of magnetic fields.

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Treatment Options for a Torn ACL & MCL

The first option for a torn ACL or MCL is usually rehabilitation with physical therapy. A physical therapist will give you exercises to strengthen the knee, and you may need to wear a brace or use crutches to keep weight off the knee during this period of time. Knee braces help by limiting the range of motion of the knee and leg to allow the ACL to heal correctly. Physical therapists will work with you to reduce swelling and pain, as well as to restore full range of motion.

If physical therapy doesn’t help or if you have a more serious tear, you may have to undergo surgery to repair the tear. ACLand MCL reconstruction involve removing the damaged ligament and replacing it with a portion of tendon. After surgery for a torn MCL or torn ACL, you will again see a physical therapist for rehabilitation to restore complete function to the knee. It may take time, but orthopedic specialists can help you work toward a full recovery so you can get back to doing the things you love.

Medication may be prescribed by your doctor to help with any severe pain as a result of the injury or ACL & MCL surgery. Less-severe pain and swelling can usually be medicated with over-the-counter medications. More-severe instances of pain in your knee, steroid medication may be recommended.

While treating an ACL & MCL injury, either before or after diagnosis and treatment (and/or surgery), other recommendations may be given by your doctor to aid in the healing process of your knee. Periodically applying ice can aid in the reduction of pain and swelling of the knee. Do your best to stay off your feet as much as possible in order to reduce the amount of time putting pressure on the knee. Elevating the leg can also help in reducing pain and keeping weight off the knee.

For some individuals, an AICA Orthopedics chiropractor can help with the recovery process through indirect treatment. Over the years and decades, the spine can become misaligned through day-to-day activities, poor posture (such as sitting at a computer), and more. A chiropractor helps by realigning the spine to its natural position, which can help to redistribute the weight of the body in a more effective manner. This can provide relief from different parts of the knee and aid in the recovery process.

Contact our friendly staff at AICA Orthopedics to learn more about an ACL & MCL injury and getting effective treatment that has been personalized to you and your injury.