image_aeWJjaR.jpeg (image_oDjQsS8.webp)While playing fall sports like football and soccer with friends is fun and exciting, it can sometimes cause knee injuries: football-related incidents are one of the leading causes of common knee injuries, including injuries to your ACL. But what is the ACL? And what actually happens when it’s injured?

At Barrington Orthopedic Specialists, we want to educate athletes about their bodies, the potential injuries they can sustain on the field, and how they can move forward after getting hurt. Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions we receive about ACL injuries:

What is the ACL?

“ACL” is an acronym that stands for “anterior cruciate ligament.” The ACL is one of 4 main ligaments that support the knee joint. The ACL connects your thighbone (femur) to your shinbone (tibia).  It’s most commonly torn during sports that involve sudden stops and changes in direction.  

What Commonly Causes ACL Injuries?

Some of the most common events that result in an ACL injury include:

  • A sudden pivot or change in direction with a planted foot
  • Awkwardly landing on your feet after jumping
  • Making a sudden stop
  • Direct trauma to the knee, such as a tackle or check

These events can often happen if you fall, take a hit, or make a sudden move while you’re performing athletic activities, especially in contact sports like football. If you believe you may have injured your ACL playing sports, the highly experienced sports medicine team at Barrington Orthopedic Specialists can help. Visit our website to see a comprehensive list of our sports medicine physicians.

What Are the Common Symptoms of ACL Injuries?

There are few telltale signs of an ACL injury.  Be sure to communicate with your doctor if you’re experiencing any of them. These symptoms include the following:

  • A popping feeling in your knee, or even an audible pop
  • An inability to continue any athletic activity
  • Swelling in your knee
  • Decrease range of motion
  • Inability to bear weight on your leg

How Are ACL Injuries Treated?

Patients will be evaluated by an orthopedic surgeon and determine a treatment plan.  Often times an MRI is ordered to confirm the physical exam findings performed in the office and if surgery is needed.  If surgery is indicated patients will start physical therapy within a week after surgery to restore range of motion and improve strength.  

Athletes do very well after undergoing ACL surgery and rehab.  Most athletes will tell you they feel stronger as they return to their sport compared to before they got injured. The success rate is very high for athletes to return to their sport after surgery.  

If you’ve sustained an injury to your ACL this fall sports season, the sports medicine specialists at Barrington Orthopedic are fully equipped to provide you with a diagnosis and a treatment plan that meets your recovery goals as an athlete.  

Is knee pain keeping you from a sports activity? Our physicians will work closely with you to determine the source of your pain and get you back on the field as quickly and effectively as possible. To schedule an appointment, contact our office at (847) 285-4200 or schedule online here

For urgent needs when our physician’s office is closed, visit our Immediate Orthopedic Care (IOC) in Schaumburg, Illinois.