Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears, the dreaded injury. Many people know ACL tears are a severe injury, involving a long road of recovery despite surgical or conservative intervention. The ACL is a sturdy ligament deep in the knee joint that stabilizes the knee, specifically with rotational movements. There are two ways to injure your ACL, direct contact or non-contact. A direct contact ACL injury is when the knee takes a direct blow from another person or object. A non-contact ACL injury occurs when pivoting, cutting, twisting, or landing on the knee.
When talking with a healthcare provider, medical jargon can quickly become alphabet soup. The knee, for example, houses the anterior cruciate ligament, posterior cruciate ligament, medial collateral ligament and lateral collateral ligament. The ACL, PCL, MCL and LCL respectively. Huh? What do those words and acronyms even mean? What do these structures do for the knee anyway? In the absence of an explanation, this jargon can become confusing or overwhelming for patients. Let’s take a deeper look at two of the major ligaments in the knee and make some sense of the alphabet soup, shall we?
With ACL injuries on the rise in young athletes, it is as important as ever to improve the strength in the lower limbs as a means to prevent an ACL tear.1 The average time of recovery after an ACL tear and subsequent surgery is typically six to nine months, and can set back an athlete for a much longer period of time than that.2 Biomechanics and strength are just a few pieces of the puzzle that can help prevent an injury. Proper rest, recovery, sleep, and nutrition can also help minimize the risk of an ACL tear from happening. The following are a list of strengthening exercises that address important aspects of an ACL prevention program.
The IT band, or Illiotibial band, is connective tissue that runs along the lateral thigh from the hip to the outside of the tibia (shinbone), just below your knee. IT band pain occurs due to inflammation caused by friction between the IT band and thigh bone, often with repeated knee flexion and extension. This inflammation leads to pain on the outside of the knee, especially with repetitive use in running, walking, hiking and cycling.
Knee pain in young gymnasts is a common complaint. Many times these young athletes begin having pain due to overuse of the area. A common overuse injury is Osgood-Schlatter’s disease (OSD). OSD is inflammation of the patellar ligament below the kneecap. Often, there is a painful bump below the kneecap (the tibial tuberosity) where the ligament attaches.
Perhaps you are the individual who seeks out a physical therapist because they have a great deal of trepidation and the strong desire to avoid surgery after receiving a diagnosis of knee osteoarthritis or “degeneration” from your physician. Or maybe you’re attending physical therapy pre or post-operatively empowered to regain pain-free living and full function. Whichever profile you identify with, this blog will provide you the knowledge to consider before a total knee replacement.
Have you ever experienced an injury and wondered if you should ice? It’s usually a great idea, but there are some rules you need to follow so you don’t worsen your injury. Read below to learn, “is ice helpful?” and “when do I ice for an injury?”
As a runner, I have been told by friends or family that running will “wear out your joints,” that “it causes osteoarthritis,” and that it “is bad for your knees.” Although most of these comments were few and far between, they stuck with me. Since becoming a physical therapist, I started to hear comments like this more frequently. However, this does not line up exactly with my understanding of the human body and how it responds to various stimuli. So I explored the question: Does running cause arthritis and should I be worried?