The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is a key ligament in the knee and connects the thigh bone (femur) to the shin bone (tibia). It runs across the middle of the knee and prevents the shin bone from sliding in front of the thigh bone while you bend your knee. It also provides stability to the knee joint when you’re walking and running and is one of the most frequently injured ligaments in the knee.
The treatment options for an ACL tear depends on your type of injury, age, and desired level of activity. Young athletes who are into professional sports will require surgery to restore the knee to the pre-injury state safely. On the other hand, children and older, less active individuals do well with physical therapy and rehabilitation.
Sometimes, if the injury is partial, your doctor may recommend conservative treatment and close clinical follow-up for three months. If you’re still experiencing instability at the end of three months, the doctor will decide to go for the surgery. Complete ACL rupture usually requires surgery.
Your doctor at Star Orthopedics and Sports Medicine will advise that you have X-rays and an MRI during your initial consultation. This test will help diagnose the extent of your injury and decide the type of treatment best suited for your situation.
In most cases, the ACL cannot be stitched together once ruptured. To surgically reconstruct the ACL, your doctor needs to replace the torn ligament with a tissue graft obtained from your hamstring or patellar tendon. The tendon is attached to the thigh and shin bone by screws, and it slowly integrates with the bone over time.
Your doctor at Star Orthopedics and Sports Medicine performs the surgery through a tiny incision using an arthroscope. This minimally invasive approach ensures faster recovery, fewer chances of infection, minimal scarring, and you can go home on the day of surgery.
You receive specific post-surgery care instructions before you leave the hospital. Your doctor prescribes braces to protect the graft while it integrates with the body. You also need to use crutches for four weeks to keep the weight off your knee.
The doctor also advises regular physical therapy to strengthen the knee and improve flexibility and motion. Usually, it takes six months or more for athletes to return to active sports after ACL surgery.
If you are looking for a sports doctor to help you with a ligament tear, call or click to schedule a consultation today.
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