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A torn ACL can be a disabling injury

Many Pennsylvanians may have heard of famous athletes, such as football players, tearing their ACL (anterior cruciate ligament). However, an ACL injury can happen to just about anyone, whether it is through a sports accident, car accident or even just by a slip-and-fall accident. However, many people may not know exactly what constitutes an ACL injury.

An ACL is a ligament that goes over the center of one's knee, connecting the individual's thighbone to the individual's shinbone. A sudden stop, faulty landing from a jump, a sudden pivot, being struck on the knee or suddenly slowing down and changing direction can all cause an ACL injury.

When an individual injures his or her ACL, they may hear or feel a pop in their knee. They may be in unbearable pain and be unable to put weight on the injured leg. Their knee may become swollen and they may not be able to fully move it.

It is important for anyone who thinks they may have suffered an ACL injury to see a doctor right away, as surgery may be necessary to reconstruct the ACL. This is because there are a number of complications that could follow an ACL injury. Individuals with ACL injuries could then go on to develop knee osteoarthritis, which is a condition in which the cartilage in the knee deteriorates. Even if an individual with an ACL injury has surgery, he or she may go on to suffer arthritis.

An initial ACL injury can be very painful, and could require a significant amount of recovery time. Moreover, if one develops arthritis following the injury, they may find the pain to be crippling. Therefore, a person with an ACL injury or severe arthritis stemming from an ACL injury may need financial assistance if they cannot work.

Applying for Social Security disability benefits for injuries may be an option for some in this situation. The Social Security Administration recognizes that major dysfunction of a joint, due to any cause, could be a disabling injury that leads to lost wages and other financial difficulties for the person. Those who have experienced an ACL injury and are wondering whether they can apply for SSD benefits may want to do their research to better understand what their options are.

Source: Mayo Clinic, "ACL injury," accessed Sept. 4, 2016

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