A tear to the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) is among the most common sport-related injuries. What exactly is the ACL and what happens when you tear your ACL? Why is this a common injury? Why is stem cell therapy becoming one of the preferred methods of healing a torn ACL?
What is the ACL?
If you look at the picture above you’ll see the knee joint and the ligaments inside the knee joint. The ligament that looks like a small rope is your Anterior Cruciate Ligament or ACL. The ACL is a very strong ligament and is has huge responsibilities. Without this ligament your lower leg could more forward in relation to the thighbone. Also the ACL limits the rotational movements of the knee. The ACL does a great job of making sure your lower leg bone stays attached to your upper leg. This is a very strong ligament so how do people injury or tear this ligament in the first place?
When an athlete suddenly stops and pivots it puts a tremendous amount of stress on their ACL. Sometimes the athlete hears a pop, and the knee gives out. This athlete just injured their ACL. When an injury occurs you either sprain or tear your ACL depending on how severe the injury is. If you completely tear the ACL you’ll notice that the lower leg bone will move abnormally forward compared to the upper leg bone.
The most common sports in which we see ACL tears include soccer, basketball, football, and tennis. However, almost any athletic or nonathletic related activity in which the knee is forced into hyperextension or over rotation can result in an ACL injury. According to ehealth.com here’s some common ways that most athletes and non athletes injury their ACL:
- Planting and cutting – the foot is positioned firmly on the ground followed by the leg (and body for that matter) turning one direction or the other. Example: Football or baseball player making a fast cut and changing direction.
- Straight-knee landing – results when the foot strikes the ground with the knee straight. Example: Basketball player coming down after a jump shot or the gymnast landing on a dismount.
- One-step-stop landing with the knee hyperextended – results when the leg abruptly stops while in an over-straightened position. Example: Baseball player sliding into a base with the knee hyperextended with additional force upon hyperextension.
- Pivoting and sudden deceleration resulting from a combination of rapid slowing down and a plant and twist of the foot placing extreme rotation at the knee. Example: Football or soccer player quickly slowing down followed by a quick turn in direction.
Do You Need Surgery?
According to webmd you’ll need surgery if you completely tear your ACL. The ligament will be reconstructed during surgery with a graft. However, what if you don’t necessarily need surgery but you want your ACL to heal quicker. If you’re a professional athlete you want to get back to your game as quickly as possible! Your career could be on the line.
Stem Cell Therapy
Regenerative medicine is becoming more and more popular, especially with athletes. You could speed up the process with surgery. Or you could speed up the process more with a simple stem cell injection to the knee. An injection of vitalized stem cells can rebuild the injured ACL naturally without having to put you down for recovery time. Let’s look at the time comparisons between surgery and stem cell therapy.
- Immediately after surgery you’ll use crutches for two weeks. You won’t use crutches for stem cell therapy at all.
- The first week after surgery you will be resting, getting rid of the swelling and you can’t drive. With stem cell therapy you’ll be able to do light activity with a brace. Driving wont be an issue.
- 3 weeks after surgery you’ll be using a brace and strength training. With stem cell therapy you’ll be able to jog and your knee will be stable.
- 3 months after surgery you’ll be able to light jog and if you meet the criteria you can maybe return to light sports. Stem cell therapy will allow you to resume sports with a brace
- 6 months after surgery you will be healed but your knee will forever be altered by the surgery. With stem cell therapy your knee will resume normal position and normal biomechanics.
If I had to choose one option I would choose stem cell therapy. At a side-by-side comparison of surgery and stem cell therapy the therapy was consistently the better choice. You’ll recover quicker and more fully without any adverse side effects. At one point surgery was the only option. Today we have the ability to use vital stem cells to heal the body naturally without invasive surgery. If you’re an athlete suffering from an ACL injury contact the Stem Cell Professionals in York, Pa today.
Staff writers (23/10/2014). What Is The Anterior Cruciate Ligament [Blog Post]. Retrieved from http://ehealthmd.com/acl-tears/what-anterior-cruciate-ligament#axzz3qdTj1A6s