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Important Information About an ACL Injury in Teen Athletes

When it comes to an orthopedic knee doctor, parents may need to book an appointment for their teen if they experience an ACL injury. This is not an uncommon injury among teen athletes, so it is important to have some basic information concerning this injury so that both teens and their parents know what to do if it occurs.

What is an ACL Injury?

This injury occurs when the anterior cruciate ligament in the knee is injured. This is most often seen in those who plays sports, such as soccer, downhill skiing, gymnastics, basketball, tennis, volleyball, and football. When a teen athlete experiences this injury, they often say that they either feel or hear a pop in the knee. Following the injury, you might not be able to bear weight, it may also feel unstable and swell.

The ACL is a band of tissue that is very strong and it connects the tibia and femur bones. The purpose of this ligament is for knee joint stabilization. Female athletes are more likely to experience this injury than male athletes. When this injury happens as the result of sports, the following are common causes:

    • Suddenly changing direction and slowing down
    • Incorrectly landing from a jump
    • The knee receives a direct blow
    • With the foot planted firmly, you go to pivot
    • Stopping suddenly

ACL Injury Symptoms

There are several symptoms teen athletes should be aware of concerning an ACL injury:

    • Inability to continue playing
    • Severe pain
    • Instability of the knee
    • Swelling shortly after the injury
    • Range of motion loss

Treating an ACL Injury

Immediately following the injury, it is important for athletes to not put any weight on the injured knee. Use the RICE protocol to help reduce the risk of further damage. RICE involves:

    • Resting the injured knee
    • Icing the area
    • Compression of the injured knee
    • Elevating the injured knee

It is important to see a doctor as soon as possible following this injury to get an accurate diagnosis. Surgery might be recommended, especially for teen athletes who want to continue with their athletic pursuits. After a successful surgery, athletes will start the rehabilitation phase where they work with a physical therapist to reduce pain and restore the function of the injured knee.

You can see that there are varying degrees when it comes to an ACL injury in teen athletes. If this injury is suspected, it is important that parents not hesitate to take their teen to an orthopedic knee doctor for a full evaluation. It is important to get an accurate and prompt diagnosis to ensure that your teen gets treated before additional damage is done.

If you would like to request a consultation with one of the orthopedic experts at OSI, please call (920) 560-1000 or request an appointment online.

The Orthopedic & Sports Institute has convenient locations to serve you. In addition to the flagship facility in Appleton, you will find outreach clinics in New London, Ripon, Shawano, Waupaca, and the newest location serving the Green Bay area, inside the NOVO Health Clinic in De Pere.