What Is ACL Injury?
Knee injuries are very common and can be quite debilitating, depending on the nature and severity of the injury. Two specific knee injuries can occur at the ACL, or the patellar tendon.
The ACL’s main job is to limit the forward motion of the tibia relative to the femur. Injury to this ligament usually occurs when there is rapid deceleration followed by a sharp and/or sudden change in direction. The use of cleats increases the chance of injury. In the US, 200,000 ACL tears occur per year; females are five times more likely than men to injure their ACL. Some risk factors include: playing specific sports (soccer, basketball, skiing); knee instability; and muscular imbalances (weak hamstrings).
ACL tears can sideline individuals from their sport or activity for several months or years depending on the severity, treatment protocol and rehab program.
The patellar tendon connects all the quadriceps muscles to the tibial tuberosity (the bony prominence below your knee cap). Patellar tendinitis, more commonly known as jumper’s knee, involves inflammation or a tear of this tendon.
This injury usually occurs with jumping/landing activities. Single-legged landings, in particular, can result in forces of up to 12 times bodyweight transmitted through the leg; for a 165 lbs individual, that’s almost 2000 lbs of force!
These injuries typically have lengthy healing times. This can be explained by the fact that tendons and ligaments have poor blood supply relative to muscles. Blood supply is key for the healing process to occur, as it delivers key healing and growth factors, and removes waste products.
With this in mind, a key strategy is to stimulate more blood flow to the area of injury. One way to achieve this goal is through prolotherapy. This treatment involves a short-term stimulation of the inflammatory cascade (more blood flow, healing and growth factors) to the areas being injected. This can result in the introduction of new collagen fibres, which help to strengthen tissues like the ACL and patellar tendon. Put simply, prolotherapy can help stimulate the body’s innate ability to heal itself.
This treatment is provided by fully licensed and certified naturopathic physicians who are trained to assess and determine when prolotherapy is indicated. Talk to your naturopathic doctor to learn more about these injuries and the treatment options available to you, to help get you back on the court, field, or mountain!