ACL tears are common in physical activities that involve quick stops, changes in direction, or direct contact with the knee. Knowing the symptoms of ACL tears can help you recognize an injury and prevent it from getting worse. Explore our guide to learn how to tell if an ACL is torn and the procedures a knee specialist can perform to help you get back on your feet faster.
Signs & Symptoms of ACL Injuries
Individuals who suffer an ACL tear often note an audible “pop” or snapping sound as the injury happens. The onset of symptoms is immediate and usually accompanied by:
Decreased range of motion in the knee
Severe pain, soreness, and tenderness along the joint
Instability and discomfort while walking
ACL injuries usually occur during sports and fitness activities that can put stress on the knee. This includes movements like:
Pivoting with your foot firmly planted
Suddenly slowing down and changing direction
Landing awkwardly from a jump
Receiving a direct blow to the knee
There are three levels of ACL injuries, which are classified by the amount of damage to the ligament (partial or complete tear). A grade 1 sprain, for example, is when the ACL is stretched but not ruptured. While a grade 3 sprain means the ACL is torn into two pieces, rendering the joint completely unstable.
When To Seek Treatment
If you are experiencing symptoms of an ACL tear, you should schedule an appointment with a knee specialist. They will conduct a physical exam in order to determine the extent of the injury. An X-ray may also be performed to assess if there is damage to the surrounding bone, but MRI will ultimately be the deciding factor in treatment.
Rehabilitation can be the first step in the recovery process with the goal of regaining full range of motion. You may spend several weeks working with a physical therapist who will develop a custom exercise program centered around your unique needs and symptoms.
However, ACL reconstruction surgery is often recommended if the ligament is injured or the injury is causing your knee to buckle during everyday activities. During the procedure, a surgeon will remove the damaged ligament and replace it with a new segment of tendon which recreates the ACL. This replacement tissue — called a graft — can be taken from your own patellar, hamstring, quadricep, or cadaver tendons.
The surgery is typically done using a minimally invasive, arthroscopic approach. Special surgical tools and a video camera are inserted through small incisions in the knee joint. The graft is then secured to the tibia (shin bone) and femur (thighbone) using sutures (special surgical thread) or screws depending on the type of graft. This acts as a bridge for the new ligament to grow on and reconnect the bones.
Recovery time varies based on the severity of the injury. Your doctor will recommend physical therapy in order to regain full range of motion, strength, and stability in the affected knee in the weeks and months that follow. Regular follow-up visits with your knee specialist and physical therapists are necessary to assess progress and readiness to return to your favorite activities.
Understanding the common symptoms of ACL tears can help reduce the risk of injury while playing your favorite sports. If you find yourself with pain or injury, CompOrtho offers top-level care to help you get on the road to recovery quicker. To learn more about injury prevention or make an appointment, contact us today!
(HealthDay News) — Two-thirds of spinal fractures suffered by American children and teens occur in car crashes when they aren’t wearing seat belts, a new study finds.
Researchers analyzed data on more than 34,500 U.S. patients younger than 18 who suffered spinal fractures between 2009 and 2014. Teens aged 15 to 17 accounted for about 63% of the spinal fractures, two-thirds of which occurred in motor vehicle accidents.
These findings show that around the time teens get their drivers’ licenses, young drivers and passengers are at highest risk for spinal fractures in car crashes, according to the authors of the study published online recently in the journal Spine.
The investigators also found a strong link between not buckling up while in the car and increased risk of spinal fractures.
“Nearly two-thirds of pediatric spinal fractures sustained in [motor vehicle accidents] occurred in children who did not use belts,” Dr. Vishal Sarwahi, from Cohen Children’s Medical Center, in New Hyde Park, N.Y., and colleagues wrote in a journal news release.
Spinal fractures in children and teens were associated with a 3% death rate, with many deaths occurring in unrestrained drivers and passengers, the researchers noted.
Another study finding was that the risk of severe or multiple injuries and death was more than twice as high (nearly 71%) when children and teens didn’t wear seat belts than when they did (29%).
Wearing seat belts was associated with lower rates of multiple vertebral fractures, other types of fractures in addition to spinal fracture, head and brain injuries, and a more than 20% lower risk of death in car crashes.
The researchers also found that 58% of the young spinal fracture patients were male, and that spinal fractures were most common in the South (38%), likely because a lack of public transportation results in more vehicles on the road.
The percentage of U.S. drivers wearing seat belts has risen steadily over the years, but teens and young adults remain less likely to use them, the study authors noted.
The findings highlight the need to take steps to increase seat belt use by younger drivers and passengers, such as targeted approaches using technology and media awareness campaigns, the researchers suggested.
“Ensuring our new, young drivers wear protective devices can greatly reduce morbidity/mortality associated with [motor vehicle accidents] and can help save lives, and spines,” the research team concluded.
Many types of arthritis can be managed effectively without surgery. Try these six at-home methods first.
Arthritis symptoms range from an occasional mild ache to debilitating pain. Osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, develops when the cushion of cartilage between the bones in a joint wears away, leading to pain (particularly after exercise), stiffness, a cracking noise during movement, and decreased mobility.
A degenerative disease, osteoarthritis usually occurs later in life. However, injuries such as a dislocation or fracture can make a joint more susceptible to arthritis. Fortunately, managing arthritis pain doesn’t always mean surgery. You can reduce the pain and stiffness of arthritis with several proven at-home, non-surgical therapies.
6 Ways to Manage Arthritis Pain Without Surgery
Whether it’s your hip, knee, or shoulder, first-line treatment for arthritis typically entails non-surgical methods to alleviate pain and increase range of motion. Try these at-home remedies for arthritis pain:
Exercise. Low-impact aerobic exercises such as walking, swimming, biking, and using an elliptical strengthen the muscles surrounding your joints. These activities also get your heart rate up without putting too much stress on your body. However, strenuous exercises that involve jumping, twisting, or deep bending should be avoided. A physical therapist can model effective ways to exercise or perform routine daily tasks like walking up and down stairs so you don’t strain your joints.
Lose Weight. Extra weight increases pressure on your joints, particularly your knees. For example, when you walk, your knees bear nearly two times your body weight. The more you weigh, the more stress you put on your knees. Exercise is one way to lose weight and reduce joint pain, but your diet plays a role, too. A plant-based diet of fruits and vegetables is helpful in fighting arthritis-related inflammation. On the other hand, processed foods, red meat, saturated fats, sugar, and salt contribute to inflammation and weight gain.
Hot & Cold Therapy.To ease stiffness, take a warm shower or bath or wrap yourself in a heated blanket. To reduce pain and swelling, apply a cold compress of ice covered by a towel or a gel ice pack to the aching joint. Just make sure the ice doesn’t directly touch your skin.
Anti-inflammatories. NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are available either over-the-counter (ibuprofen and naproxen) or by prescription (celecoxib and meloxicam). Each one is an effective pain reliever and can be taken before you start an activity that causes discomfort. NSAIDs are generally safe, especially if used for a short period of time. But check with your doctor before taking an NSAID to make sure the medication doesn’t interfere with other drugs you may be prescribed.
Assistive Devices. Supportive devices, such as a walker or brace, alleviate pain by lifting the pressure off the affected joints. Assistive devices can also help you more easily accomplish everyday activities. If the pain is centered in your hands, for example, toothbrushes and brushes with larger handles are easier to maneuver.
Reduce Stress. Dealing with a painful chronic condition like arthritis can cause stress and anxiety, which only increases the intensity of your pain. Meditation, yoga, and other relaxation techniques calm the mind and help you cope with stress and pain.
If these at-home remedies or physical therapy fail to relieve your pain, your arthritis may have progressed to a point where surgery or joint replacement is advisable. Fortunately, today’s minimally invasive arthroscopic procedures allow you to regain use of your joint after a brief recovery period.
Let Us Heal You
The physicians at Comprehensive Orthopaedics treat arthritis with a combination of surgical and non-surgical methods. Our goal is to relieve your pain and get you moving freely again. Contact us today for a consultation.
Triangular fibrocartilage complex tears are painful and can affect a person’s ability to use their hand or wrist. But what is a TFCC tear exactly? And how is this injury treated? Understanding what this injury is and how to identify its symptoms can help you resume a pain-free life faster. Explore our guide to TFCC tears and learn how a wrist specialist can help you regain mobility in your wrist.
What Is a TFCC Tear?
The triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC) connects the hand and forearm bones to form the wrist. Your TFCC is made up of several ligaments, tendons, and cartilage. It helps your wrist move and stabilizes the forearm when gripping something with your hand or rotating your forearm. A TFCC tear is any injury or damage to this area. There are two types of TFCC tears:
Type 1: These tears result from a physical injury. This often occurs when a person overextends their wrist or falls on their hand with it extended.
Type 2: These tears occur gradually and can result from damage due to aging or an underlying health condition, gout or rheumatoid arthritis.
TFCC tears commonly cause pain in the wrist. The pain may be constant or only appear when you apply pressure to your wrist or move it. Other symptoms of a TFCC tear can include:
Weakness or stiffness in the wrist
A limited range of motion in the hand or wrist
Loss of grip strength
A clicking or popping sound when you move your wrist
Athletes who regularly put pressure on their wrists — like tennis players or gymnasts — have a higher risk of developing a TFCC tear. You are also at a higher risk of a TFCC tear if you have previously injured your wrist.
TFCC Tear Treatment
If you suspect a TFCC tear, the first thing you should do is temporarily stop doing any activities that cause wrist pain to allow the injury to heal. You might need to wear a cast or splint to prevent your wrist from moving. Your wrist specialist will also likely recommend physical therapy. This involves doing gentle exercises to rebuild strength in your TFCC. If non-surgical treatments don’t provide any relief, you may need surgery to repair the tear.
Surgery to treat a TFCC tear involves a minimally invasive procedure called a wrist arthroscopy. During the surgery, your doctor will make several small incisions on the wrist’s outer edge to repair the damaged portion of the TFCC. Sometimes, they may also shorten the ulna — a long bone in the forearm — to alleviate your symptoms. You must wear a cast for a few weeks after the procedure to allow the area to heal.
Recovery usually takes a few weeks for TFCC tears that don’t require surgery. However, it may take anywhere from a few weeks to several months before you regain full use of your wrist if you do need surgery. Doing physical therapy and avoiding activities that strain your wrist can help speed up your recovery time.