ACL Tear Greater St. Louis. ACL tears can abruptly disrupt your active routine and daily life. One second you’re flying down the field, competing in your favorite sport or playing with your kids, and the next second you’re wondering if you’ll get to play or even go to work again. At Axes Physical Therapy in St. Louis, we have dedicated our practice to restoring our patients’ mobility and returning them to the activities they love. Our ACL tear rehabilitation specialists work with you as a team and develop personalized, evidence-based, empirically-backed treatment plans. If you’ve sustained an ACL tear, or any other injury, in Greater St. Louis, contact us online or the most convenient Axes location for you. We focus on getting every patient a positive outcome and getting you back to the things that matter most to you, whether that means burning corners in your local St. Louis flag football league, or picking up your grandchildren without any pain.
What is the ACL? | St. Louis Physical Therapy
Ligaments are bands found in joints made of tough, flexible fibrous tissue that connect two bones. The ligaments in the knee help keep your knee stable by connecting your tibia (shinbone) to your femur (thigh bone). The ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament, runs down the center of your knee and forms an “X” with the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL). The ACL and PCL work together to control the front and back motion of your knee, and the ACL prevents the tibia from sliding too far forward on the femur and provides rotational stability.
ACL tears can be either partial or complete. Depending on the grade of your ACL tear, your ability to bear weight and range of motion will be impacted. However severe your injury, trust in the St. Louis licensed physical therapists of Axes to help you achieve a complete recovery.
Causes of an ACL Tear | St. Louis Physical Therapy
There are as many as 250,000 ACL injuries in the United States every year, and it is one of the most common knee injuries and sports injuries. They are common in contact sports that require frequent and fast cutting and switching directions, such as football, baseball, soccer, and basketball. According to the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, 70% of ACL tears occur in non-contact injuries, such as changing direction quickly, and the rest are the result of direct blunt force trauma. External and internal factors could both be at play when you suffer an ACL tear:
These are when your movement or coordination is disrupted immediately before the injury. Some examples are:
- Landing on uneven footing or landing awkwardly
- Being bumped by something or someone
- Suddenly decelerating and changing direction
- Pivoting with a firmly planted foot
- Receiving a direct blow to the knee
These have to do with the structure and anatomy of the knee and legs. Examples include:
- The differences in anatomy between men and women
- Flexibility of the hamstring
- Genetic variations
While many ACL tears occur in sports, they are also common in falls and work-related injuries. They can become more common as we age and our bodies weaken. Women are 4-6 times more likely to sustain an ACL tear, likely due to anatomical differences.
Symptoms of an ACL Tear | St. Louis Physical Therapy
After an ACL tear, the pain will likely be at the center of the knee. An ACL tear does not always cause significant pain unless other constructive damage was done to the knee. Some indicators that you may have sustained an ACL tear include:
- Feeling or hearing a pop in your knee
- Inability to continue activity
- Rapid swelling
- Loss of range of motion
- Instability when bearing weight
If you suspect you’ve sustained an ACL tear, it’s important to reach out to a St. Louis doctor or a licensed physical therapists to diagnose your injury and get you the treatment you need. We offer free, no-obligation injury screenings and have a great network of trusted physicians that we can refer you to. Your Axes physical or occupational therapist is an integral part of your recovery team, working closely with you and your doctors and medical providers to collaborate on your safe and efficient recovery.
ACL Tear Treatments | St. Louis Physical Therapy
It is important to get prompt, effective, personalized treatment for your ACL tear. If your injury does not heal properly, it can lead to complications like obesity or osteoarthritis, which can greatly affect your quality of life.
Immediately after your ACL tear, it’s best to use over-the-counter pain medication and the R.I.C.E. method to mitigate pain and reduce swelling. A doctor will then examine you, assess your range of motion, and likely order an MRI to confirm the ACL tear and gauge the extent of the injury.
As there is no blood flow to the ligament, a complete ACL tear cannot regenerate and heal on its own. This means that you will need the help of licensed professional physical therapists in order to get back to the activities you love. The only way to fully repair an ACL tear is through surgery. So, surgery is often recommended for younger people, athletes who need their knee reconstructed in order to perform, patients with other significant damage to their knee, or those whose ACL tear causes their knee to buckle in basic, everyday tasks. ACL surgery is typically done by taking a graft from another tendon — either one of yours or a deceased donor’s — and then using small incisions to attach the graft to the femur and tibia.
Once the new ligament is in place, you still have a long way to go before you’ll feel fully back to normal. After surgery, you’ll likely need crutches to move around, as your quadriceps muscles will have weakened. Axes Physical Therapy offers both pre- and post-surgical rehabilitation for ACL tears in St. Louis to optimize your recovery and the success of your operation. Our ACL tear physical therapy experts will be by your side throughout your recovery process with proven, customized physical therapy. Our treatment methods will help to:
- Reduce pain and swelling
- Educate you on your injury and the rehab process
- Gradually and effectively get you back to bearing weight
- Fit you for a brace and teach you how to safely use it
- Do movement exercises and balance exercises to return range of motion
- Do strength exercises to return you to full strength
- Possibly use electrical stimulation to return strength and flexibility
- Regain your mobility
When you work with the experienced St. Louis area physical therapists of Axes and take an active role in your recovery, you have the greatest chance of a complete and timely recovery. Before you know it, we will get you back to tearing up the local pickleball league, or just enjoying the ability to climb stairs without your knee buckling.
How to Prevent an ACL Tear | St. Louis Physical Therapy
Unfortunately, second ACL tears are common and can have permanent consequences. As part of our ACL tear physical therapy services in St. Louis, our Certified Athletic Trainers will educate you on how to avoid another ACL tear in the future. Some of the preventive methods you can take in order to prevent further injury are:
- Strengthen your core
- Strengthen your hip and leg muscles
- Practice proper form, for example always landing with your feet directly over your knee
- Stretch consistently and maintain flexibility
- Perform balance exercises
- Always warm up before sports or other physical activities
- Always wear appropriate footwear
Our physical therapists dedicate themselves not only to getting you back to the activities you love, but doing what we can to ensure that you can continue doing them without being interrupted by another injury.
ACL Tear in St. Louis | Axes Physical Therapy
It is normal to experience anxieties about your prognosis and road to recovery after being seriously injured. If you’ve sustained an ACL tear, you might be impatient to return to your active lifestyle and physical activities you value. Trust in the experienced and knowledgeable professionals of Axes Physical Therapy to work with you to design a proven, customized rehabilitation plan to return you to the basketball court, gymnasts’ mat, bowling alley, or just back to your normal, pain-free daily activities. Contact us online or call the location are closest to you.