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Breaking Down an ACL Injury and How Chiropractic Helps

By Dr. Molly Casey

Friends Helping Woman with Knee Injury

ACL injuries are one of the most common knee injuries -- and certainly one of the most well-known. While people most commonly think the anterior cruciate ligament injury is quarantined to those who play sports, in truth the injuries can happen to both active and inactive people alike. There are steps you can take to prevent the injuries and know that chiropractic can assist in healing from the injuries.

Knee Anatomy

The knee joint itself is made up of four bones -- the femur, tibia, fibia and patella. There are tendons from muscles of the thigh, shin and calf that attach into this joint. There are two fibrous discs inside the joint that provide a congruent surface on which the bones move. There are four main ligaments that assist with joint stabilization -- medial collateral ligament, lateral collateral ligament, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), and posterior cruciate ligament.

ACL Injury Statistics

The ACL assists in stabilization of the knee joint by preventing excessive forward movement of the thigh bone on the shin bone. It also plays a role in limiting twisting and rotational movements of the knee joint.

The American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine estimates approximately 150,000 ACL injuries yearly in the United States. It also estimates the healthcare costs for these injuries at approximately $500 million annually. ACL injuries are more common in women than men.

ACL Injury Causes

ACL injuries most often occur with actions such as:

  • Changing directions quickly
  • Stopping suddenly
  • Slowing down while running
  • Awkward landings
  • Direct collision/forceful contact

While these actions are often encountered in sports activities, you can understand these often occur in daily life as well.

ACL Injuries and Chiropractic

Is chiropractic care a viable option for assisting in the healing process of an ACL injury? At a foundational level, chiropractic assists in the overall health and functioning of the nervous system. This system controls everything in your body, including the healing process. So immediately at a fundamental level, the answer is yes. Getting clearer on the degree to which chiropractic care will directly affect the healing of that specific joint will depend upon the severity of the injury. A chiropractic manipulation of the knee joint will be quite beneficial in the restoration of joint motion and full function of the knee joint and speed up the healing process -- particularly helpful and noticeable with ACL sprains. This is where the ligament has been overstretched. While the chiropractic manipulation of the knee joint is still imperative for proper function of the knee joint following an ACL tear, it clearly won’t recreate the connection of fibers torn.

Is it worth seeing a chiropractor after an ACL injury? Yes. Will the knee joint manipulation help restore proper knee motion, function and healing regardless of whether the ligament is sprained or torn? Yes. Will it reconnect a torn ligament? No.

ACL injuries are common. The cost, both financially and in daily life activities in treatment of these injuries, is real. Let your chiropractor help ease the burden and increase your body’s ability to heal more completely and efficiently.

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