ACL tears - ACL tears have plagued athletes for many years...

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ACL tears have plagued athletes for many years and until recently, almost always led to the demise of the athlete's career . With new improvements in the surgery and the rehabilitation program, athletes only experience a bump in their athletic career instead of a downfall - over 90% of athletes who have ACL surgery, return to normal sports participation within six months (3) . In some cases, athletes have returned to sport within three months . (2) The knee joint is comprised of the femur, tibia, and patella . These bones are controlled by a variety of muscles and ligaments that also act as a defense against damage . The two ligaments that stabilize the knee from side-to-side are the medial and lateral collateral ligaments . The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) are located in the center of the knee joint and stabilize the knee from front-to-back . These ligaments allocate the weight equally throughout the knee to limit the deterioration on the knee cartilage on the inside, or articular cartilage . Two other defense mechanisms include the medial and lateral meniscus, which are basically shock absorbers (1) . Like we learned in class, the two muscles that move the knee are the quadriceps and hamstring muscles . When the quad muscles contract, the knee extends forward . Conversely, when the hamstring contracts, it flexes back . I have personally witnessed numerous friends go through the lengthy rehabilitation process required following ACL surgery . From my eye witness accounts, I have learned that the actual injury is an immense amount of pain accompanied with a pop, followed by little or no pain . Short term symptoms included swelling, slight pain, and the inability to make lateral
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movements . All were able to walk on the injured leg . Those who decided to get immediate surgery began the rehab process before the surgery in an attempt to strengthen their quads . After the surgery, the remaining rehab process began . Ice and slight leg movement exercises were done followed by band exercises to gradually restore the range of motion and strengthen the surrounding muscles . After a few weeks, walking was permitted. Not too long after, the athletes were able to perform slight running exercises while cutting exercises were banned . Eventually, my friends were allowed to gradually include cutting exercises and normal running into their rehab . Keep in mind, all of them wore the protective knee brace to prevent reinjuring the knee . This brace was worn by all of them for at least one season following the surgery
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ACL tears - ACL tears have plagued athletes for many years...

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