An anterior cruciate ligament tear is often referred to as an ACL tear. When you have an ACL tear it is often accompanied by a popping sound and the ‘trick knee’ that is constantly ‘giving out’ from underneath you.
What is the ACL and What Does It Do?
The four ligaments in your knees all play a vital part in the movement, stability, and load-bearing.
The ACL is located under the kneecap and is vital for your knee joint stabilization.
ACL injuries often occur when there is a twisting motion that occurs during a collision in sports, rough play, falls, work-related and even literally just ‘moving wrong at the wrong time’ and your weight is bearing down which may result in a torn or damaged ACL.
Even elite athletes have torn an ACL without having contact and not even running.
In the past, the only option for ACL tears was surgery, but now that stem cell therapy has made so many advancements, it is smart to look into stem cell therapy before having a doctor do surgery.
How Do You Know You Have An ACL Tear?
In addition to the pain, there is either a ‘popping’ sensation in your knee or you may actually hear a loud ‘pop’ when you sustain the injury. At the time of the tear, your knee most likely becomes extremely unstable and it gives out from underneath you.
A trained medical specialist will ask you a series of questions while checking the stability of your knee by moving it in various motions while observing the stability as well as your comments as to experiencing pain as a result of the movements.
The movements are designed to ‘stress test’ the knee joint to determine if there is a possible torn ACL.
An MRI will clearly show the extent of a tear if there is one as well as if there may be any other damage to the knee.
Ask any injured athlete and the first thing they’ll tell you is that they’ll do anything to avoid having to undergo season-ending surgery. Unfortunately, ACL tears are one of the most common injuries amongst athletes across all different sports.
But athletes aren’t the only people who can suffer an ACL tear, anyone can experience this injury and you must understand what it means and what your options are for treating and relieving the pain.
There are an estimated 200,000 ACL injuries in the US each year, with around 95,000 of those being ACL ruptures. Subsequently, there are 100,000 ACL reconstructions are performed every year. This is certainly an injury that’s well-known to medical professionals given the high numbers of people who suffer each year from this type of injury.
Let’s talk about what it means to tear your ACL, what treatment options are available and how stem cell therapy is becoming a popular treatment option for injured joints and ligaments.
What Does it Mean to Tear Your ACL?
Your ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament, is one of the major ligaments in your knee. Injuries to your ACL are common in sports that involve sudden stops, direction changes or jumping and landing. Sports like football, soccer, and skiing are where the bulk of ACL tears are seen.
When you tear your ACL, many people hear or feel a “pop” in their knee. The knee will then swell, feel unstable and become too painful to bear weight.
About half of all ACL injuries occur in combination with damage to other parts of the knee like the meniscus, articular cartilage, or other ligaments.
Your ACL runs diagonally through the middle of your knee and it helps to prevent the tibia from sliding out in front of the femur as well as providing stability to your knee. A tear in your ACL means that the fibers of the ligament split or fray, causing you pain and instability.
The symptoms that you’ll likely experience when you tear your ACL include:
- A loud pop in the knee
- Severe pain
- Inability to bear weight and continue an activity
- Rapid onset of swelling
- Decreased range of motion
What are the Risk Factors?
While it’s true that anyone can tear their ACL, it’s an injury that is most commonly associated with sports due to the stress that these activities can put on the knee. Common risk factors for tearing your ACL include:
- Cutting, or suddenly slowing down and switching direction
- Pivoting while your foot is firmly in place
- Landing a jump awkwardly
- Sudden stopping and starting
- A direct blow to the knee, such as a tackle in football
Of course, this injury can be sustained by those who aren’t playing a sport as well. Accidents can happen even just walking down the street.
Diagnosing an ACL Tear
More often than not, athletes know they’ve torn their ACL by the telltale “pop,” but your doctor will still need to see you evaluate the injury and determine the severity and treatment plan.
Your doctor will ask about the following:
- What type of movement caused the injury (twist, sudden stop, direct contact, etc.)
- Whether or not you heard or felt the “pop” inside your knee
- How much swelling there is and how soon it appeared
- Whether or not you were immediately unable to bear weight or resume activity
In addition to these questions, your doctor will perform a series of physical tests and examinations to verify the tear and determine the type and severity. Once your injury is fully understood, your doctor will recommend a course of treatment to heal the injury and get you back on your feet.
Surgery Vs. Stem Cell Treatment for an ACL Tear
AS we mentioned at the beginning of the article, most every athlete who suffers from an ACL injury will tell you that they’ll do anything to avoid a surgery that will leave them laid up and rehabbing for months. So, what other options do athletes have to get them back out on the field quicker, potentially saving them from losing a whole season to a knee injury?
Stem cell injections for ACL tears are a hot, new treatment option that athletes everywhere are turning to as an alternative to surgery. Stem cell injections are a simple, outpatient treatment that involves injecting a concentrated form of stem cells taken from a mother’s umbilical cord directly into the damaged ACL tissue.
Once injected, the stem cells go straight to work healing the injured ligament. Meanwhile, the patient doesn’t have to risk a painful surgery, long recovery, and the side effects that come with dangerous pain medications.
Athletes and knee pain sufferers everywhere are rejoicing in the fact that regenerative medical technology, while still in the research phase, has been shown to provide a safer, more effective alternative to surgery.
Doesn’t the sound of getting back on your feet quicker and without the risk of complications sound amazing?
Is Stem Cell Treatment For ACL Tear A Good Option For You?
Just like every treatment method, stem cell therapy is not guaranteed, however, the preliminary research shows exciting results that we can’t wait to share with joint pain sufferers everywhere!
If you’re interested in learning more about stem cells and their implications for ACL tears, get in touch or sign up for one of our free seminars where you’ll learn the ins and outs of stem cell therapy and if it may be a good treatment choice for you. It’s certainly in your best interest to explore all your treatment options to decide which is the best for you and your lifestyle.
Why ACL Tear No Longer Automatically Means Surgery.
Reconstructive ACL, which is when you take the ligament from another part of your body and use it to replace the torn ACL used to be the automatic option, but with the advances in regenerative medicine, this is no longer the case.
Stem cell therapy regenerates ligaments, cartilage, soft tissue, muscles and more. Plus, stem cell therapy has a powerful anti-inflammatory component which means that is ideally designed to be the first line of defense if you have an ACL tear.
The degree or grade of the tear will play a part in making the determination as to which path to fixing your torn ACL is best, but it just makes sense to try the natural, non-invasive, non-surgical, drug-free option -first – RIGHT?
We would value the opportunity to speak with you and your family about how stem cell therapy from Summit Health Centers maybe your best option for knee pains and in particular an ACL tear.
Get the facts. Get the truth. Get answers to your questions.
We look forward to speaking with you.