Two cruciate ligaments run diagonally across the knee joint, providing necessary stability and rotational functionality. Both the anterior cruciate ligament and the posterior cruciate ligament are essential to the knee’s ability to bear the body’s weight. Without these small, but important pieces of knee anatomy, our bodies would struggle to run, jump and pivot.
We often hear the anterior cruciate ligament referred to as the “ACL” and the injury most frequently associated with it referred to as an “ACL tear.” This dreaded knee injury is common among athletes that compete in contact sports and because of the infamous “pop” noise that often accompanies the tear, it is also also one of the most recognizable knee injuries.
Aside from the audible pop, other symptoms include pain, swelling, stiffness and immobility.
Tens of thousands of ACL tear
injuries are reported in the U.S. each year and many of those cases come with additional injuries as well. For example, it is common for a patient to also suffer from a torn meniscus or cartilage damage in conjunction with the ligament tear.
ACL Tear Diagnosis & Treatment
This particular injury almost always requires surgical intervention because the ACL is unable to heal naturally on its own. Because of this ligament’s location in the knee, it has very limited access to the blood supply that would be required for internal repair.
Your physician will diagnose the severity of the tear by assigning a sprain level. If the ligament has only been slightly stretched, your ACL injury may be considered a grade one sprain. However, since most ACL injuries are full tears, it would be more likely for you to have sustained a grade three sprain, which indicates that the ligament is completely torn in two pieces.
Ligament Reconstruction Surgery
In about 50% of all ACL tear cases, ligament reconstruction
is required in order to repair this important band of tissue, which contributes to so many functions of a healthy knee. Whether the replacement ligament is a grafted from your own body or from a donor’s, the new ACL will provide your knee with the support it needs to strengthen and stabilize the entire body.
- A sports medicine physician will conduct an evaluation and help answer any of your questions.
- Your surgeon will help you determine whether she or he will use an autograft or an allograft.
- During surgery, the graft is threaded through the knee joint and attached to the thigh bone and lower leg.
- This procedure often requires a period of bracing followed by a structured physical therapy program.
- The graft biologically heals during the recovery period and becomes the new ACL.
Anchored to the leg bone, the new ACL will go to work for you right away. Within a matter of just a few months, you could be hiking, biking and jogging again! If you’re looking to regain the king of active lifestyle that requires healthy knees, then call Rothman Institute today. Don’t let an ACL tear keep you down. Our knee specialists will be able to assess your injury and determine the right course of treatment for you.
An ACL Tear is No Match for Our Team of Specialists
Here at Rothman Institute
, our success rates are high, our long term patient outcomes are favorable and our offices and surgery sites are conveniently located all around the Delaware Valley. Our team of knee specialists are known throughout the country, and even internationally, for their clinical expertise and excellence in orthopaedic care.
When you call us at 1-800-321-9999, we’ll help you get set up with an appointment to see one of our knee physicians. An ACL tear doesn’t have to mean the end of your healthy, active lifestyle. Our physicians will work with you toward the goal of a strong, pain free future!