I am no stranger to knee surgeries; I have had five, all on my right knee, and will probably have more as I age. Thankfully, I have never (knock on wood) had any problems with my ACL. I know several people that have had ACL surgeries. It’s a painful injury and, whether or not you have surgery, the rehabilitation is particularly grueling.
Despite the aching in my right leg as I did the research and read through the information from our member experts, I wanted to write this as a guideline for those that may have heard that awful pop, a “what to do” and “what to expect” as you navigate the year after an ACL tear.
What you should know about ACL injury
Unless you’re Marcus Lattimore, who famously — or infamously? — injured all four knee ligaments in a college football game in 2012, the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is the knee ligament you’re most likely to injure. All of us can take steps to reduce the risk, but if you do suffer an ACL tear, your physical therapist can help you on the road to recovery.
An ACL tear is usually caused by a traumatic event, says Rebekah Glass, a physical therapist at The Center for Physical Rehabilitation, a Physiquality member with four locations in Western Michigan. While some tears occur during vehicle collisions or during a fall, most are sports-related and occur without contact from anyone or anything else. These “non-contact” injuries can be caused by quick changes in direction with a misstep, a bad landing after a jump (especially in basketball) or even simply turning the body while slowing down.