Healing after an injury to a ligament can be a long process. Because ligaments receive very little direct blood flow, they are much slower to heal than other structures such as muscles and bones.
Upon Initial injury, first aid should be used to prevent further damage to the knee until medical attention is available.
Follow these First Aid key points:
- Stabilize the knee – Use a splint, wrap, and crutches if available
- Keep the knee elevated – Try not to walk if possible
- Use Ice – To keep swelling at a minimum
Common Treatments Following Injury of the ACL:
Exams are necessary to determine the degree of injury to the knee. For those suffering a 3rd degree sprain, or tear, of the ACL, surgery may be required. Following surgery, and with 1st and 2nd degree ACL injuries, a treatment plan aimed at restoring function of the knee will be recommended.
Treatment is usually directed by a physical therapist or other orthopedic doctor. Range of motion exercises will typically begin 1-2 weeks following the injury or surgery. Focus will be on regaining flexibility, strength and correct walking posture. Further strengthening and flexibility training will typically continue for approximately 6 weeks, depending on the severity of the injury and the overall desired result of the therapy. For those who wish to return to their regular activities and optimize their results, further training and therapy, such as massage therapy for sports injuries, may be necessary. Anjuna Medicine offers massage therapy for sports injuries, including torn ACLs.
Maximizing Your Recovery:
As a massage therapist at Anjuna Medicine, I have treated many clients with past joint injuries. Unfortunately, they often have completed their treatments only to find their range of motion still limited, and full function of the joint was not restored. In some cases, clients have even developed new aches and pains due to favoring the injury.
As you go through treatment, you will want to maximize the potential of your recovery and reduce the likelihood of long term complications. Here are a few more tips to help you achieve the best results from your care:
- Massage and manual therapy – By giving the soft tissue proper care, you’ll increase recovery rate and optimize range of motion.
- Acupuncture – Increased blood flow, decreased inflammation and pain management are some of the ways that acupuncture is beneficial for sports related injuries.
- Reduce activities that cause pain – Rest as much as possible to prevent re-injury.
- Continue to use ice as needed – Too much swelling can cause unneeded damage to the tissue as you are trying to heal.
- Wear a brace or other supportive device as recommended.
- Follow your treatment plan – As long as you feel it works for you, follow your treatment plan. However, if you have doubts about your recovery, don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor or get a second opinion.
Using these recommendations will give you the upper hand in your recovery and hopefully give you the results you’re looking for; better function, quicker recovery, and better health.