Sports Injuries: Knees; ACL & MCL.
As we continue little mini-series, we move onto the dreaded Knee injuries, the two major ones being the ACl tear and the MCL tear. These injuries often leave athletic players sitting on the sideline, watching and waiting to heal, and imagining the day they will return to the athletic field, court, rink etc. First let’s examine the difference between the two injuries.
The ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament, is found in the front portion of the knee, connecting the thigh bone (femur) and leg bone (tibia). The sudden straightening of the knee beyond normal can cause injury to this part. On the other hand, a MCL (medial collateral ligament) is located the inner side of the knee. Damage usually occurs when the knee is bent awkwardly sideways. (Read more here)
When do these injuries occur?: An ACL/MCL tear is most commonly a sports-related injury. They can also occur during vehicle accidents, rough play, falls, or even work-related activities. These usually occur when the knee gives out from a sudden impact, and the force separates the supporting ligaments.
What are the signs of an ACL/MCL tear?: Some common symptoms of an ACL/MCL tear are as follows. Often sudden and severe pain, frequent loud popping or cracking, swelling, a feeling of looseness in the joint area, and inability to put pressure on the injured area without pain. Although these are some of the common symptoms, they are not all of them, and you may experience symptoms that are not on this list.
How to fix the problem: Simply put, you are going to have to get surgery performed on the tear, at least if you want to have a proper functioning knee after the healing process is over. Here is a rough overview of what the surgery consists of. (See below paragraph)
According to Athletic Advisor, the surgeon begins by viewing the torn ligament as a final diagnostic evaluation. Also, the surgeon will inspect the knee for other possible damage. The remains of the ligament are then removed with an arthroscopic shaver. Other damage will be addressed as the procedure continues. The replacement tissue for the torn ligament can be harvested from the hamstring muscle tendons on the medial (inside) of the knee or from the patellar tendon at the front of the knee. Once the tendon is harvested, it is prepared for the replacement. (To view the full process click here)
What can be done to prevent these injuries: Athletes really can only do a few things to prevent these types of injuries, withtrengthening the surrounding knee muscles being the most important preventative measure. Some methods of strengthening these muscles are as follows. Warm-ups, stretching, weight strengthening, plyometrics, agility drills, and always ending with cool down exercises.
By following the provided information you greatly reduce the risk of obtaining an ACL or MCL related injury. Although this info does not guarantee anything, it provides possible ways and methods to reduce the risk.