Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer suffered a painful ACL tear in yesterday’s win over the Rams. The replay from Sunday’s game shows Palmer being “barely hit” when he dropped to the ground after stepping back on his left leg for a pass. The phrase ACL tear is notorious with sports fans, who see this as a season-ending injury for their Cardinals quarterback.
The ACL is a major stabilizer of the knee when cutting, running, jumping, twisting, and even going up and down stairs. It is important to note that two-thirds of ACL tears are from non-contact injuries. In fact, many ACL tears occur when an athlete comes down from a jump or pivots, as in Carson Palmer’s case.
When an ACL tear occurs, many people hear and feel a strong pop in their knee. The pain and swelling is immediate. Clinical testing such as an MRI typically confirms the diagnosis; however, testing on the field can often confirm the laxity on the ACL immediately after injury. Some people can rehabilitate an ACL tear without surgery if they are returning to low-level activities throughout the day. In Palmer’s case, his physical requirement is extreme and will be undergoing surgery in two weeks, along with intensive physical therapy afterwards.
ACL surgery typically takes a tendon from another part of the leg and connects it in place of the torn ligament. At times, surgeons will prefer to use a graft from a cadaver to replace the ligament. The incisions are small and barely noticeable, once the injury has healed. After surgery, there is significant swelling and bruising. A brace that limits motion of the knee is typically used to help keep the knee from bending and pulling at the newly constructed ligament. Crutches are used to help take weight off, although most people can bear weight almost immediately.
The formal rehabilitation for this injury starts within the first week after surgery. It is a lengthy rehabilitative process but important for restoring the same level of athletic function and speed. A minimum for this rehab is three months, whether the injured person is an athlete or not. Often the rehab is closer to 4-6 months pending on how quickly strength and agility can be regained.
We are hoping for the best prognosis for Carson Palmer, even as current news updates suggest that he will be out for the remainder of the season.
Proper training is essential for reduction of ACL risk. For more information on ACL prevention, please contact us at email@example.com.