What to Do When You Suspect a Torn ACL

author : brookechaplan
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No one wants to think they could tear their ACL, and yet this injury happens to a lot more people every year than you might think. While ACL injuries might be common storylines in professional sports, even non-athletes can wind up tearing them. Knowing how to deal with it immediately is crucial if you suspect you may have torn yours.

Know the Symptoms

The first symptom is usually a popping noise and a lot of sudden pain. Rapid swelling and loss of lower leg mobility are also symptoms. Being unable to put weight on a knee without feeling it might buckle can also indicate a torn ACL. Sudden jumps and twists are the kinds of motions that might make your knee feel suddenly very loose inside.

Apply R.I.C.E.

Consult your physician as soon as you can. Depending on how bad shape you are in, you might even consider visiting an ER or urgent care. Until you can get into professional medical care, apply the R.I.C.E. protocol of rest, icing it, applying compression, and elevating the impacted area. Stay off of the impacted leg as much as you can, and consider pain medication to manage what you're physically feeling.

See Your Doctor

A physical examination by your doctor is how to get an official diagnosis. They might have you visit an imaging center that uses advanced technology to look deep inside your tissue and see whether an actual tear took place. These images would also be used to plan for any potential surgery that might reattach your ACL.

Get a Second Opinion

If you wind up getting imaging done, then a torn ACL is usually a pretty accurate diagnosis. However, if you're not entirely sure about what you're being told, then consider visiting a different physician for a second opinion. ACL surgery has come a long way over the decades, thanks in large part to advances in sports medicine. However, surgery of any kind can still be a serious affair. Make sure you actually need what's being prescribed to you to be safe.

ACL recovery often involves surgery, but it's also not a given. If you suspect you might have torn an ACL, follow these steps to prevent any potential injury from getting worse than it already is. The sooner you respond to it, the more quickly you can get back to being your normal self.


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date: April 4, 2022


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