Injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) are common knee injuries among athletes, especially women. And because the wear and tear of aging weakens the ligaments of the knee, an ACL tear is also not uncommon when one over the age of 40 falls.
The ACL is two bundles of connective tissues inside the knee joint. The ligament connects the back of the femur, or thigh bone, to the front of the tibia, or shin bone. It is one of the four main ligaments responsible for stabilizing the knee. More specifically, it is responsible for controlling how far the shin bone can extend relative to the thigh bone.
The ACL can be partially or completely torn in a number of ways, with many of these involving non-contact motions. Sudden changes of direction or abrupt deceleration are often the causal factors for an ACL tear.
Unfortunately, this area of the knee does not receive much blood flow necessary for the body to naturally heal an ACL tear. Thus, surgery to reconstruct the ligament is most often the method of treatment for an ACL tear, especially for athletes who need to continue to be able to pivot, cut and the like.
You can engage in physical therapy to strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee to somewhat compensate for an absent or weakened ACL, but not repairing the ACL tear significantly ups the odds the knee will be injured again, not to mention it excludes the affected individual from engaging in at-risk athletic activities.
Surgery involves reconstructing the ACL ligament using tissues from other areas of one’s body (the patella tendon or hamstring) or from a tissue bank.
After the surgery begins the real recovery process; one must undergo extensive rehabilitative exercises, stretches and such to return the knee to its pre-injury condition. This process typically takes the better part of a year.
For proper recovery after an ACL tear, immediately following the surgery one must wear an ACL post-op brace and use crutches. Wearing an ACL brace after surgery helps stabilize and immobilize the knee, giving the new ACL a chance to heal. At BraceAbility, one can find a number of ACL knee braces for use after surgery.
This ACL knee brace consists of a carbon composite frame that is heat-moldable. This means that the brace can be adjusted as the leg changes shape following surgery and to accommodate for edema. Also allowing for a custom fit, the tibial strap is adjustable.
The ACL functional brace also features range-of-motion hinges for proper flexion and extension control following surgery.
As you likely inferred, once one is cleared to begin participating in sports once more, he or she will likely have to wear an ACL leg brace for some time, especially if the sport involves contact with other players. Again, there are a variety of styles from which to choose at BraceAbility.
Our ACL injury braces are designed to improve the stability of the knee as well to prevent the hyperextension that often causes an ACL injury. ACL tear knee braces feature unique wrapping of straps at the back of the knee as well as both medial and lateral hinges to prevent the shin from extending too far relative to the thigh. Our braces for ACL injury also have two adjustable buttresses for ultimate knee stability while playing sports or recovering from a sports injury or anterior cruciate ligament surgery.
The PCL (also known as the posterior cruciate ligament) is one of the four main ligaments in the knee. Where is your PCL located - the PCL is located in the back of the knee connecting the femur to the shin bone. While PCL tears make up less than 20% of injuries to the knee ligament, many athletes or car crash victims will find themselves with a torn PCL. Unfortunately, tearing of the PCL can also damage some of the other ligaments or cartilage in the knee. In some cases, the ligament can also break loose a piece of underlying bone. A PCL brace can be worn as a preventative measure to help reduce the possibility of the PCL being injured. If you do happen to injure your knee, a PCL knee brace can help stabilize and strengthen your knee through the recovery stages.
In most cases, people who experience PCL problems will not fully tear the ligament. The majority of injuries associated with the PCL are simple strains, sprains, and less serious injuries. A PCL injury brace is often times the only treatment needed when a minor strain or sprain occurs. Some common symptoms associated with a PCL injury are:
Check out our wide variety of knee braces for ligament strains and sprains. BraceAbility offers the best knee braces for PCL injuries. For more information on this topic visit our PCL injury library article.
Posterior cruciate ligament injury treatment will vary depending on the severity of the injury. If the injured PCL is damaged drastically (most likely torn), surgery may be the best option. To ensure full recovery after a torn PCL, the patient should wear a PCL post-op brace and use crutches. Wearing a brace helps stabilize and immobilize the knee giving the repaired PCL a chance to heal. BraceAbility offers a wide variety of post-op knee braces, available for all shapes, sizes and genders.
If the PCL is only partially torn or severely sprained, a functional knee brace is a perfect option. A functional PCL knee brace allows the patient to continue to move freely and avoid surgery altogether. PCL repair from surgery can be a long, painful and expensive process; fortunately, BraceAbility offers a wide variety of functional knee braces to treat a torn PCL.
In some cases, multiple injuries in the knee may happen at the same time. If one was to dislocate their knee and tear multiple ligaments in the knee, including the PCL, surgery is almost always necessary. This is often times the best method for treatment of a torn PCL especially for athletes who wish to continue playing after the procedure.
The surgery to rebuild a torn PCL is done arthroscopically by a surgeon who makes small multiple incisions on either side of the knee. Arthroscopic surgery is beneficial to the patient because it is less invasive than normal surgery which leads to less time in the hospital, quicker recovery and less pain.
Regardless of whether or not surgery is done, once swelling in the knee goes down rehabilitation should be started. A physical therapy program is often started 1 to 4 weeks after a procedure. The length of one’s recovery is dependent on the severity of the injury. Complete recovery will often times take 8-12 months before full motion and strength are back.
One of the highest recommended braces for PCL recovery is the functional knee brace. This is considered one of the best post-op braces on the market because of the lightweight, strong aerospace-grade aluminum frame. This brace provides excellent low-profile support well suited for a torn PCL (or other ligament injuries) and as a PCL sports brace for support as one gets back to athletic activity. This knee brace for a PCL tear is also a great option even if surgery is not performed. Being a functional knee brace, it works perfectly to keep the knee joint moving and strong if only a minor tear is present.
American football is one of the most dangerous sports to participate in on the face of the earth. Due to the high impact nature of the game and the constant cuts that players are forced to perform, injuries happen. Ligament injuries in the knee are incredibly common in today’s game. The posterior cruciate ligament keeps the tibia (shin bone) from moving backward too far. When the PCL is torn or injured, it is because a powerful force pushes the tibia backward forcing the PCL to push past its breaking point. For example, if a running-back accelerates forward through the line of scrimmage and is met immediately by a surging linebacker who puts his helmet straight into the running-backs knee, a PCL injury is very likely.
Directly after the injury takes place, it is important to get diagnosed properly by a medical physician. If the physician determines that the PCL has been torn completely, surgery is likely necessary. However, if the injury is determined to be a sprain or strain, it is possible for the athlete to begin playing again with a functional knee brace.
If PCL ligament surgery is determined necessary, it is important to remember that a full recovery is still possible. Arthroscopic knee surgery has many benefits and patients are recovering quicker than ever. Once a medical professional has cleared the patient to participate in sports again, a PCL brace will likely still need to be worn for some time to ensure no further damage to the knee.
BraceAbilty offers a wide variety of football knee braces. With football being such a high contact, injury prone sport; it is important that you are protecting yourself. BraceAbility has got you covered with football braces for every shape and size, from linemen to quarterbacks, we’ve got it all.
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