There are three “grades” of ACL injuries. Most ACL injuries occur along with damage to additional structures of the knee. These injuries usually impact the cartilage. ACL injuries are divided into three different “grades” of severity. Grade 1 Sprains: the ACL has been stretched, though the joint remains stable. Grade 2 Sprains: the ligament is stretched to the point it becomes extremely loose. This is often considered a partial tear. Grade 3 Sprains: the ligament is torn completely. This results in the joint instability.
These injuries are usually related to sports activity, such as football, or running, or quick landing with changes of direction. Examples of injury to the ACL may result include direct contact or collision, landing from a jump incorrectly, or slowing down suddenly while running.
Symptoms include pain, swelling, and discomfort while walking. Your physio will speak to you about your symptoms, and assess all structures of your knee, and compare it to your uninjured knee. For some patients, an X-ray or MRI may be necessary to confirm injury to the ACL. Most ACL injuries can be diagnosed simply with a physical exam of the knee.
Treatments vary according to the patient. In most cases, these injuries are treated without surgery, with the patient either undergoing physiotherapy or wearing a brace to prevent knee instability. Physiotherapy can help restore function to the knee and strengthen the leg muscles. ACL tears cannot be stitched together, so if surgery is required the ACL will have to be completely reconstructed.
If you think you may need help with an ACL injury, get in touch with us to book an appointment.