The Dreaded ACL Tear--And How to Recover

It's the sound no athlete wants to hear--the pop of the knee that signals an ACL tear, an often season-ending and sometimes career-ending injury.

The good news is that with the proper treatment, athletes can come back. Even better news is that not all athletes will require surgery. Older athletes without instability or a meniscus tear can rely on bracing and physical therapy. Younger athletes however who are more active may choose reconstructive surgery, which is done arthroscopically with little risk of infection. Pre- and post-surgery rehab are also key for a successful recovery.

It was an away basketball game, and just as well that Abby Navarro’s parents weren’t in the stands.Navarro, then 16 and a forward for Lawton High School in Oklahoma, was dribbling left-handed down the court, a rival player close behind. “I remember trying to cross the ball over to my right hand when she kind of shouldered me, and that made my knee pivot in,” she recalls. “It hyperextended, and I felt the pop.” Navarro dropped to the floor and grabbed her leg as the burning sensation hit. “All I could do was just hold my knee and wait for somebody to come help me.”

A severe injury to the anterior cruciate ligament ­­– the dreaded ACL tear – is the bane of athletes everywhere. Surgery and recovery leave young athletes sidelined for months, as they put in the strenuous work of slowly building their knees back up.


This article excerpt, by Lisa Esposito, originally appeared here: http://health.usnews.com/health-news/patient-advice/articles/2015/04/22/the-dreaded-acl-tear-and-how-to-recover.



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