The Orthopedic Blog

What Tests Are Done For an ACL Injury

Posted on Fri, Dec 27, 2013 @ 09:12 AM

What Tests Are Done For an ACL Injury 

An ACL injury is extremely common among professional and amateur athletes. A sports medicine doctor normally runs an on-site test to determine if an athlete has incurred this injury type. If it is definite that the athlete has an injured ACL, he will be referred to a specialist, so that more tests can be done to establish the severity of the injury. Below are details on the subject of ACL injuries and the available tests, as well as treatment options. ACL

Tests Performed to Obtain a Diagnosis

An accurate diagnosis can be established on the foundation of the physical test alone; however, patients are advised to undergo several tests to discard other causes and to verify the severity of the knee injury. The tests may include:

  • X-rays

This test is performed to rule out any bone fractures. Nevertheless, X-rays cannot visualize soft tissues, for instance tendons and ligaments.

  • MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)

MRIs use radio waves and a sturdy magnetic field to construct images of both soft and hard tissues within one’s body. These tests are able to illustrate the degree of any ACL injury, and show if there are associated injuries in joint cartilage and knee ligaments.

  • Ultrasound

The machine uses sound waves to envisage internal structures and it is used to check for damages to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the knee.

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Most Popular Treatment Options for ACL Injuries

Preliminary treatment for ACL injuries aims to decrease swelling and pain in the knee, strengthen the knee muscles, and regain normal joint movement. The patient and doctor will decide thereafter if surgery is needed to treat the ACL injury further. Generally, rehabilitation is necessary after surgery, as it helps to regain one’s knee motion and functionality.


The treatment choice depends on a number of factors, including the level of damage that incurred within the knee and the patient’s willingness to alter his usual activities. Athletes who want to return to the sports routine he is used to, which entail pivoting, cutting, and jumping normally pursue surgery to avoid episodes of volatility. Individuals who live a sedentary lifestyle and did not incur a substantial ACL injury to the cartilage or other ligaments, are generally able to maintain their knee stability by undergoing rehabilitation alone. 


Rehabilitation is Vital

Whether or not an athlete undergoes surgery, he definitely needs rehabilitation. Physical therapy typically includes:

  • A range of motion exercises
  • The use of crutches or a knee brace
  • Muscle strengthening exercises


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Topics: acl injury