The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is the most commonly injured ligament in the knee. The ACL is a strong ligament that connects the femur to the tibia and helps stabilize the knee when you change direction rapidly or stop suddenly. It absorbs an incredible amount of stress and is therefore susceptible to tearing. An ACL tear most frequently occurs as a sports injury, especially in those sports involving pivoting, sudden changes in direction, or jumping.
A loud "popping" sound or sensation in the knee, severe pain, rapid swelling, and a feeling of knee instability are common signs and symptoms of a torn ACL.
If you have torn your ACL, you are probably asking the question - do I need surgery? What is the best treatment for repair? The answer to this question is - it depends. The treatment for a torn ACL largely depends on the severity of the tear and the patient’s range of activity.
Severity of Tear:
Most clinicians describe a torn ACL as either partial or complete. Partial tears can be treated with non-surgical methods. Physical therapy and rehabilitation can help strengthen the muscles in the legs and restore the knee to a condition close to its pre-injury state while compensating for the torn ACL. However, complete tears cannot heal without surgery.
Range of Activity:
For patients who are not actively involved in sports, non-surgical treatment can be successful. For patients who are actively involved in sports, surgery is almost always recommended. An ACL tear in a highly active patient that is only treated through non-surgical means will likely result in future meniscal damage, additional cartilage damage, knee instability, and osteoarthritis. The risk of injury can potentially be decreased by maintaining muscle flexibility and strength. Warming up, stretching, and cooling down are ways of protecting joints and muscles.
Although a torn ACL is a common injury, the treatment plan is not common. Treatment for a torn ACL is specific to each patient depending on the severity of the tear and the range of activity. Because each patient’s injury and circumstances are unique, it is important to have your knee thoroughly evaluated. If you suspect an ACL injury, contact South Palm Orthopedics today at (561) 496-6622. Together we can form a treatment plan that helps you get back to the activities you enjoy.
The physicians at South Palm Orthopedics are committed to providing the highest orthopedic care level to every patient each time. Our physicians' team provides an advanced level of care, integrating the newest cutting-edge surgical and nonsurgical techniques with proven traditional methods of treatments.