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Understanding Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tears: Insights from the Chiropractic Textbook "Differential Diagnosis and Management for the Chiropractor" by Thomas Souza, DC

How to fix ACL tear knee pain with Physical Therapy
ACL Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tear Knee pain

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tears are a common injury, particularly among athletes, but understanding their diagnosis and management is crucial for healthcare professionals. In his comprehensive textbook "Differential Diagnosis and Management for the Chiropractor," Thomas Souza, DC, provides valuable insights into identifying and treating ACL tears.

Identifying ACL Tears:

Souza emphasizes the importance of a thorough physical examination to diagnose ACL tears accurately. Key indicators include:

  • Mechanism of injury, such as sudden stops or changes in direction

  • Pain and swelling around the knee joint

  • Instability or a feeling of giving way during weight-bearing activities

Diagnostic Tools and Tests:

To confirm ACL tears, Souza discusses various diagnostic tools, including:

  • Lachman Test: Assesses anterior translation of the tibia relative to the femur.

  • Pivot Shift Test: Evaluates rotational instability of the knee.

  • MRI Imaging: Provides detailed visualization of soft tissue structures, including the ACL.

Management Strategies:

Souza outlines conservative and surgical management options for ACL tears:

  • Conservative: Focuses on reducing pain and inflammation through rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE), along with physical therapy to restore strength and stability.

  • Surgical: ACL reconstruction may be necessary for individuals with significant instability or functional limitations, particularly athletes aiming to return to high-demand activities.


In "Differential Diagnosis and Management for the Chiropractor," Thomas Souza, DC, offers a comprehensive overview of ACL tears, from diagnosis to treatment. By understanding the mechanisms of injury, conducting thorough examinations, and utilizing appropriate diagnostic tools, healthcare professionals can effectively manage ACL tears and optimize patient outcomes.

Source: Souza, T. A. (2018). Differential Diagnosis and Management for the Chiropractor. Jones & Bartlett Learning.

To learn more about rehabilitation for Anterior Cruciate Ligament tears (ACL Tears) please book an appointment with our Physical Therapist Dr. Jun Bradley Cadelinia, DPT at Kailua Wellness Center. Call (808) 261-8181 today to book an appointment.

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