The ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament, is a major ligament located in the knee. It helps to prevent the knee joint from moving excessively, however it can get injured quite easily. An ACL tear is a common sports related injury. Here is some information about ACL tears, when surgery is needed for the knee and how surgery can help repair it the tear.
How Tears Occur
An ACL tear is most associated with sports injuries. However, they can also happen during play that is too rough, auto accidents and bad falls. The majority of ACL tears are sustained from non-contact injuries. This means that injuries happen more when the patient falls for example, rather than when he is tackled by another player. They happen most commonly when a person lands from a jump or pivoting. These motions put stress on the knee and the knee gives out.
Signs of a Tear
There are several ways to diagnose an ACL injury. Brampton Physiotherapist Mike Postic says that patients who have injured their ACL often feel a distinct pop within their knee, and then they feel their knee give out from under them.
If it is an ACL tear, the knee will start to swell and the patient will feel pain in the knee joint. When diagnosing sports injuries, Brampton Doctor Postic will look for signs that the knee is unstable. He can perform certain tests that will place stress on the patientâ€™s ACL that will help detect a tear in the ACL. He may also use an MRI to check if the ligament is torn.
When Surgery is Needed
In most cases, ACL tears do not require surgery. Athletic therapy in a Brampton clinic should be enough to repair the tear. However, there are some ACL injuries that will require surgery to correct it and there are certain things to consider when deciding to have ACL surgery.
The patient should first consider if he or she regularly does activities that would require a functional ACL. Second, the patient needs to figure out if he or she experiences knee instability. If the answer to both of these is yes, then the patient may be a candidate for surgery to repair the ACL. If the patient does not do activities or sports and does not feel unstable on the knee, then surgery may not be needed and a knee brace can help to relieve the pain until the knee repairs itself.
Surgery to repair an ACL tear is known as ACL reconstruction. It is rarely possible to repair a ligament, so the ACL needs to be reconstructed. Another ligament or tendon will be used to replace the torn ligament.
Risks associated with ACL surgery are infection in the area, persistent pain, stiffness and difficulty returning to the level of activity that you were precious used to. Luckily, majority of patients have no complications and recover with no issues at all.