Your joints are designed to do a lot of amazing things: bend, hinge, pivot, twist, and rotate. But, they're not designed to do two of those things at once. All that movement could lead to problems, like an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).
Our team at Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers have seen plenty of ACL injuries. From athletes who made a sudden stop and changed directions, to folks who fell and wrenched their knee joint. While you may not immediately think of seeing a podiatrist for a knee injury, you really should. Here’s why.
A quick anatomy lesson
Your thigh bone is connected to your shin bone at your knee joint with the help of four ligaments: the posterior, anterior, medial, and lateral. They each function together to keep your knee joint stable and allow you to squat and jump. If you damage one of them, you not only have pain, you have instability. The most common knee ligament injury is a torn anterior cruciate ligament, better known as an ACL.
ACL injuries: women vs. men
In the battle over who racks up more ACL injuries, women win...well, actually, lose. Women tend to suffer from this injury more often than men for several reasons. Here are a few:
These all factor into conditions ripe for an ACL injury. Such as core strength, alignment of the body when jumping and landing, and the state of the ligaments at the time of injury (hormones during ovulation may impact this). Both men and women sustain ACL tears and typically need a lot of work to help them heal.
What’s involved in ACL recovery?
Women and men alike face a long road to recovery after they’ve torn their ACL. The most common treatment includes rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE). Physical therapy is also a great way to strengthen the supporting muscles around the joint. But, those who neglect to consider how the foot and ankle contribute to the healing process are missing out on a key factor that could make recovery faster and more effective.
The role of the foot and ankle in ACL recovery
After you’ve torn your ACL, your primary goal is regaining stability. Unfortunately, most people think that work stops at the knee and thigh. At Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers, we know that proper ACL recovery relies on a good foundation that starts with your foot and ankle.
We analyze the way you walk
The strength of your arch, the tilt of your ankle, how hard your heel strikes the ground, the way your knees turn in (or don’t) are just a few of the many aspects of your gait that impact the rest of your body. Our expert physicians can determine alignment problems that may put undue pressure on your joints and hinder your ACL healing process.
We check out your shoes
Post-ACL surgery, you’ll need to make sure you’re doing all you can to help the healing process. Worn out shoes that have lost their support or have the wrong kind of support can set your recovery back. We can help you choose shoes that are right for your body, your injury, and your recovery goals.
We give you a lift
One of the most effective ways our team can help you heal faster is with prescription orthotics. These are devices that you insert into your shoes. Not to be mistaken with products labeled as orthotics and sold in stores, we customize your orthotics just for you according to your gait analysis. You’ll find they not only help ease some of your pain, but they also stabilize your knee and speed up your recovery.
If you’ve torn your ACL and are looking for the best way to approach your recovery, contact us at our Arlington or our Mansfield location today.