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Get to the root of your ACL injury.

 

What is ACL tear?

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is a thick and strong ligament that connects your thigh bone (femur) and your shin bone (tibia). It serves to protect your knee from hyperextension and from too much twisting. It allows us to run, jump, and kick to our full capacity.

What does ACL injury feel like?

Persons with ACL injury often experience swelling and soreness of their pain. Depending on the amount of injury, the pain varies from mild to very severe. People sometimes talk about hearing a pop during the moment of injury. But this doesn’t necessarily mean you have an ACL injury or not. If you feel that your knee locks or gives out, see your physician as quickly as possible to have it evaluated.

Why does it happen?

ACL injury often occur during sports. While contact sports seems rough and dangerous, ACL injuries more often occur during NON-contact! Players most often experience ACL injury while suddenly changing direction in running or while landing from a jump. Other similar activities outside of sports can cause this injury as well.

The good news about this is that, since it often results from non-contact, that means you have control over protecting yourself. With good strength in your hip muscles, knee and calf muscles, you can control the forces that go to your knee and reduce your likelihood of injury.

ACL injuries are more common in teenage athletes, and more common girls than boys. Growing teenagers sometimes have bones growing longer faster than their muscles are stretching out. The tightness in their muscle contributes to increased pressure on their knee. A good warmup program and stretching program have been shown in research to greatly reduce the risk of ACL injury. We recommend the program by the Santa Monica Sport Medicine Foundation’s “PEP Program - Prevent injury and Enhance Performance.” Your trainer or physical therapist can help you learn these exercises.

Does it get better?

It does! ACL tears are graded for the severity of their tear:

  1. A mild, small tear

  2. A partial tear

  3. A substantial or complete tear

The first two grades of ACL injury responds well to conservative management. Your physical therapist will conduct tests to see if you are one of the people who’s body heals this injury and adapts to it well. A grade 3 tear can improve with conservative management. Without repair, your peak ability may be limited, and there can be age related changes in your knee as time goes on. A physician equipped with imaging studies can give you their medical opinion on their expectation of healing as well as the pros and cons of conservative versus other management options. Please call us if you would like a consultation with our physical therapists or a recommendation for a knee specialist.

What can we do to help?

We use a combination of physical therapy and holistic techniques to provide a non-invasive way to improve your ACL tear.

  • Yu Family Acupressure - A traditional technique to reduce pain and promote healing

  • Motor Control training - Key to a healthy shoulder involves all of the muscles working in harmony. Pain, exhaustion, trauma can throw off your body’s control and a skilled physical therapist will help you retrain your neuromuscular system.

  • Swelling management - Part of the difficulty of using your knee is due to the swelling causing pain and stiffness. We use a number of techniques listed here to reduce the swelling.

  • Mobilization & Stretching - Tension of your muscles and joint can make it difficult to move your knee comfortably, much like how car alignment issues make it difficult to drive straight. Hands on soft tissue and joint releases restore your knee’s optimal movement.

  • Kinesio taping - Kinesio taping is a gentle and comfortable tape that helps reduce swelling and promote proper muscle use.

  • Exercises - The proper balance of hip, quadricep, hamstring and calf strength both protects and promotes knee healing. Stretching and strengthening exercises helps you to protect and improve your knee between and beyond your physical therapy sessions.

  • There are many other methods and tools that are helpful, but the list would be exhausting. During your evaluation we will explain the the approach best for you in consideration with your needs and preferences.

How long will it take?

Each visit lasts 45 mints to an hour.

How much does it cost?

We are in network with most PPO insurances and medicare. We also accept worker's compensation claims and automotive injury claims. You will be responsible for your insurance deductible and copay. We can contact your insurer to find out details for you but it is always recommended that you speak your your insurance company to verify as sometimes their database can be out of date.

Do you take insurance?

We are in network with most PPO insurances and medicare. We also accept worker's compensation claims and automotive injury claims. You will be responsible for your insurance deductible and copay. We can contact your insurer to find out details for you but it is always recommended that you speak your your insurance company to verify as sometimes their database can be out of date.

DOES the treatment hurt?

The treatment can be uncomfortable. We aim to help you be and move comfortably again so we minimize discomfort whenever we can!

Are you sure this will work?

Most of our patients are able to return to living the life they wish without having to have surgery. Every person is different and we really need to get to know you and your condition to answer that question. If we feel that your condition would benefit from additional medical intervention beyond PT, we will happily refer you to a doctor who is right for you.

 

Movement is life.
— Moshe Feldenkrais