Welcome to Stay in the Game, a monthly blog where the team from The Queen's Health Systems share the latest tips on the treatment and prevention of sports injuries. We want to help you play hard and be well - a winning combination that will keep you in the game all season long.

What is an ACL?


The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (also known as the ACL) is a stabilizing structure that is within the knee. The ACL is important to pivoting motions and maintaining knee stability. This is especially important in sports requiring quick turns like soccer or football. The ACL will tear when the ligament is pulled beyond its point of maximal tension. Athletes commonly tear their ACL while twisting their knee when landing from a jump, as often occurs during volleyball or basketball games.


Pixabay image

How do I know if my ACL is torn?

Most athletes feel a "pop" and deep pain in the knee after their ACL tears. Occasionally it feels like the knee gives way. There is usually immediate swelling to the knee and it is associated with pain. These injuries are often associated with other injuries such as meniscus tears, bone bruising and injuries to other ligaments around the knee. Your physician will perform a physical exam and then order an x-ray and MRI to evaluate your knee for injuries sustained.

How do I treat my ACL tear?

Initial treatment for an ACL tear revolves around protecting the knee, reducing swelling and regaining motion. You may be placed in a brace initially. The swelling can be reduced by resting, applying ice, using a compression wrap such as an ACE bandage, and elevating your knee above your heart.

Most athletes with an ACL tear will want to have their ACL reconstructed, so they can return to sports that require pivoting. An ACL reconstruction involves using ligaments from your body or from a cadaver to make a new ligament. Often you will require several months of rehabilitation following surgery before returning to sports.

Want to learn more? Starting September 9, 2019, people in West Oʻahu will have access to orthopedic services closer to home. The new Orthopedic Center at The Queen's Medical Center - West Oʻahu will have experienced, board-certified physicians who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of bone, muscle, tendon, nerve and ligament conditions. Get on the path to recovery by calling 808-691-3520 beginning September 9.


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