Your doctor can
tell whether you have an ACL injury by asking questions about your past health
and examining your knee. The doctor may ask: How did you injure your knee? Have
you had any other knee injuries? Your doctor will check for stability,
movement, and tenderness in both the injured and uninjured knee.
You may need
X-rays, which can show damage to the knee bones. Or
you may need other imaging tests, such as an
MRI. An MRI can show damage to ligaments,
tendons, muscles, and knee cartilage.
Arthroscopy may also be done. During arthroscopy, your
doctor inserts surgical tools through one or more small cuts (incisions) in the
knee to look at the inside of the knee.
Start first aid right away.
These first-aid tips will reduce swelling and pain. Use the RICE method. The
letters stand for Rest the knee, put Ice on it, use an elastic bandage to give gentle
Compression to the knee, and Elevate the leg by propping it up above the level of your
heart. And at first it's also important to move your leg as little as possible. Take
over-the-counter pain medicine.
You may need to walk with
crutches and use a knee immobilizer to keep your knee still for the first few
days after the injury.
Your knee will need to be checked by your
doctor. It's important to get treatment. If you don't, the injury may become a
long-lasting problem. There are two ways to treat the injury:
- Exercises and training, also called rehab. It
takes several months of rehab for your knee to get better.
Surgery. You and your doctor can decide if rehab is enough or if surgery is
right for you.
If you have surgery, you will also have several months of
Your treatment will depend on how much of the
ACL is torn, whether other parts of the knee are injured, how active you are,
your age, your overall health, and how long ago the injury occurred.
There are three main treatment goals:
- Make the knee stable if it is unsteady, or at
least make it stable enough to do your daily activities.
- Make your
knee strong enough to do all the activities you used to do.
the chance that your knee will be damaged more.
The best way to
prevent ACL injuries is to stretch and strengthen the leg muscles, especially
the front and back muscles of the thigh (quadriceps and hamstrings).
Here are other things you can do that may help prevent ACL injuries:
- Avoid wearing shoes with cleats in contact
- Avoid wearing high-heeled shoes.
- Avoid sports
that involve lots of twisting and contact.