Best care practices for evaluating ACL injuries

The speed and intensity with which sports is played often results in injuries to the musculoskeletal system. A sprain or tear of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the most common. Adopting best care practices for evaluating ACL injuries is important, in order to prevent the development of serious conditions like knee osteoarthritis (knee arthritis).

Function of the ACL

The ACL is one of the key ligaments that assist in maintaining the functional stability of the knee joint. It prevents the hyperextension of the knee, and also manages the amount of tibial rotation during activities such as jumping.

Causes and Symptoms

ACL injuries are usually caused by landing with the knee extended, or pivoting and simultaneously changing directions. This often leads to an ACL tear, causing the knee to collapse. Common symptoms of ACL injuries include pain and swelling.

Evaluating ACL Injuries

Effective diagnosis of an ACL injury involves a physical examination using specific tests, such as the Lachman test. The Lachman test is considered one of the most reliable tests to determine the extent of an injury to the ACL, and the degree of knee instability.  The 2 other tests that are used to assess an ACL injury are the pivot-shift test, and the anterior drawer test.

The specialist will also check for any associated injuries, as ACL injuries rarely occur on their own. Very often there has also been damage to the meniscus, or to the articular and subchondral bones.

Applying best practices for evaluating ACL injuries is important, in order to ensure adequate care and rehabilitation.

If you have suffered an ACL injury, contact experienced orthopedic surgeon Frank McCormick, MD for consultation. Dr. McCormick is based in South Florida. He has offices in Miami, Orlando, Doral, and Palm Beach, and can be reached at 1-844-LESS-DOCS.

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