The human body is capable of healing tremendous injuries, and modern medicine has allowed doctors to improve the quality and speed of the healing process. Though you might not need help from a doctor to perform surgery for an ACL tear, a specialist can help ensure that the injury heals quickly and effectively, reducing the likelihood of recurring injury or chronic pain.
At Progressive Spine and Sports Medicine in Ramsey, New Jersey, our team of experienced pain medicine doctors can help determine if your ACL tear can heal on its own or if it requires surgical intervention.
Understanding ACL injuries
It all started with an abrupt stop, a poor landing, or a twisting turn. Then came the “POP!” Your knee suddenly became painful and unstable. This sound is accompanied by immediate, intense pain that is usually caused by an injury to the anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL.
Your knee consists of three bones held in place and supported by layers of muscles, ligaments, and connective tissues. Your posterior and anterior cruciate ligaments form an “X” inside your knee joint, allowing back-and-forth movement and rotational stability.
ACL tears are some of the most common knee injuries. Anyone can suffer from one, but they’re most common among athletes who do a lot of jumping, pivoting, and making sudden movements. This includes basketball, football, and soccer players, as well as downhill skiers.
Aside from sudden, severe swelling and pain, other symptoms of an ACL tear include:
- The hallmark “popping” sensation at the moment of injury
- Joint instability and inability to bear weight
- Tenderness around the knee joint
- Poor range-of-motion
When to visit a doctor
Your first reaction to any knee injury should be to apply the RICE method: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. You should also take some anti-inflammatories to limit swelling and pain. Next, determine whether the injury is severe enough to warrant immediate attention.
Regardless of whether you visit the emergency room for a knee injury, you will need to visit the doctor for a proper diagnosis. The knee is a complex joint with many moving parts, and you need to be sure that the injury is actually an ACL tear.
Although your general practitioner can help with injuries like these, you should consider consulting with a sports medicine doctor. Even if you aren’t an athlete, a specialist has the experience to get you back on your feet faster, with more mobility and less pain.
At Progressive Spine and Sports, our clinic is well-equipped to handle injuries like these. Via comprehensive diagnostics, pain management, and physical therapy, we can provide all the resources you need for your rehabilitation.
Recovering from an ACL tear
Once your ACL tear has been properly diagnosed, we can begin discussing your options. Depending on the extent of the injury, your personalized treatment plan might include:
- Hot/cold therapy
- Athletic taping
- Bracing or splinting
- Osteopathic manipulation treatment (OMT)
- Acupuncture and electroacupuncture
- Regenerative medicine
- Joint injections
- Physical therapy
Though we generally prefer conservative treatments, if the tear is severe, your case might be recommended for surgery. The good news is that most knee surgeries are now done arthroscopically, limiting the invasiveness and downtime for the procedure.
Ready to begin getting back on your feet? The sooner you seek treatment, the smoother the road to recovery will be. Schedule a consultation by calling 201-201-0443, or request an appointment online.