The joints in your body are what give you your mobility. Nature designed them to withstand a lot of wear and tear, but even nature couldn’t make joints and ligaments indestructible. Your knee receives a lot of stress on a daily basis, and its design is built for that, but the knee is also a common joint to need joint replacement in Jacksonville, FL, or ligament surgeries because of trauma or excessive wear. People who participate in high impact sports or who have physically demanding jobs are often at higher risk for knee injuries. A torn ACL is a common injury for sports players and almost always needs corrective surgery. Here are some warning signs that you might have a torn ACL.

What Are the Symptoms of a Torn ACL?

Your ACL is one of the main ligaments in your knee. Ligaments hold joints together and allow the joints to move properly. This gives enough stretch for mobility but enough strength and toughness to hold joints secure. If you’ve torn your ACL, you may have heard or felt a popping sensation in your knee when it occurred. It often happens in sports where you might be stopping quickly, turning, or placing significant force on your knees. Your knee might swell up, feel unstable, and be too painful to walk on. All of these are signs that you might have torn your ACL. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, don’t wait to talk to a doctor. ACL injuries are serious and need to be looked at immediately in order to facilitate the best outcome. A torn ACL almost always requires surgery unless you are an elderly patient with little mobility. In that case it might be better to not risk surgery. Otherwise, surgery is necessary to restore stability and range of motion in the knee.

How to Prevent a Torn ACL

A torn ACL is usually caused during a fitness activity that places stress on the knee. Activities like sudden slowing or stopping and changing direction, pivoting with a foot planted firmly on the ground, landing a jump improperly, or getting hit directly on the knee are all common causes of a torn ACL. You can’t always avoid these motions during sports or physical fitness, so be aware of the risks and make sure you train properly. Also listen to your body and slow down or take a break if your knees are feeling too stressed. Women are also at higher risk than men for experiencing a torn ACL while performing the same activity. If you’re a woman, focus on strengthening your hamstrings and training properly for landing jumps.

What Happens After Surgery?

If you’ve torn your ACL and had to have surgery, be sure that you listen carefully to your doctors instructions for post-op recovery. You may need physical therapy to help restore range of motion. You’ll also need to ease back into your regular physical activity or participation in sports. Patients who’ve had ACL surgery are at greater risk for osteoarthritis in the knee, which may require joint replacement surgery down the road. The severity of your ACL tear as well as what kind of stress and activity is placed on the joint afterwards will determine the likelihood of needing a joint replacement.

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