An anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury is one of the most serious injuries that can occur with soccer players. This is especially true for female soccer athletes, who are four to eight times more likely to tear this ligament compared to a male.
Matthew Busam, MD, chief medical officer of FC Cincinnati who practices at Mercy Health – Cincinnati Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, addresses parents most frequently asked questions about their child’s ACL injury.
Q: Why did the ACL injury occur?
A: The why is oftentimes very challenging to answer because most ACL injuries in soccer are a non-contact injury. It can be hard to comprehend why an activity that their child may have done hundreds of times before without any issues now resulted in something happening.
Oftentimes, it is caused by an imbalance of muscle strength in the leg. Sometimes, just bad luck, unfortunately.
The why does become a focus of our long-term treatment. By addressing any muscular imbalances, issues in flexibility or issues on how they jump and run, we can try to prevent a recurrent injury.
Q: How do you treat an ACL tear?
A: The treatment is a surgical reconstruction of the ligament along with rehabilitation. It is important for a parent to know that surgical reconstruction is incredibly important but encompasses a short time frame in their child’s overall recovery. Their child will need to be willing to participate in the recovery and be dedicated to their rehabilitation.
Q: When can my child return to playing?
A: Typically, it is a nine to 12-month recovery with at least six months spent on the biological side of healing from the reconstruction. Then the next three to six months focused on strength, flexibility and muscular balance.
To return to play, the athlete will need to give their absolute best to their recovery for the entire duration of their treatment.
Mercy Health – Orthopedics and Sports Medicine is conveniently located throughout Cincinnati. We offer same/day next day appointments as well as extended hours at the Anderson and Fairfield locations.
Call 513-347-9999 or schedule an appointment online.