ACL Injury Treatment
The anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, is one of four main ligaments of the knee. Ligaments are strong bands of tissue that connect one bone to another. The ACL, one of two ligaments that cross in the middle of the knee, connects your thigh bone (femur) to your shinbone (tibia) and helps stabilize your knee joint.
ACL sprains or tears (either partial or complete) are among the most commonly occurring knee injuries. They often happen to athletes who play sports that involve jumping, landing and sudden stops or changes in direction. These sports include soccer, basketball, football and downhill skiing.
Treatment for an ACL injury can include physical therapy and wearing a knee brace, but treatment often requires ACL repair surgery.
Signs You May Have an ACL Injury
Injuries to the knee should not be taken lightly because of the complex makeup of bones, ligaments, tendons and tissues that all work together. It’s important to get a prompt diagnosis to determine the severity of the injury.
You should seek immediate care if you experience any of these symptoms that indicate an ACL injury:
- A popping sound on injury
- Knee pain, especially when putting weight on the knee
- Swelling, sometimes occurring a few hours after the injury
- Limited range of motion
- Feeling that the knee isn’t stable
ACL Injury Care
Treatment for your injury will include rehabilitation exercises to help you regain strength and stability, wearing a knee brace and, depending on your lifestyle and the severity of your injury, possible ACL knee surgery. Surgery to repair or replace the torn ligament is usually followed by more physical therapy.
ACL repair is a minimally invasive procedure, performed arthroscopically, and can usually be done as an outpatient procedure. Most ACL tears can’t be stitched back together so a new ligament must be constructed, using a tissue graft for the new ligament to grow on.
After your ACL reconstruction surgery, a strict physical therapy regimen must be followed in order to restore your knee function and strengthen the leg muscles that support your knee. For athletes, it can take up to six months after surgery to regain full use of your knee.
Request a referral to one of our orthopedic knee specialists or call (602) 674-6588 today to make an appointment.
Sources: Medline Plus, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Academy of Family Physicians