ACL Tear

What is an ACL Tear?

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is a ligament that provides stability to the knee joint. 

An ACL tear commonly occurs when pivoting or landing badly from a jump. ACL injuries are a common phenomenon among people who engage in highly demanding physical activities more, especially high-intensity sports.

ACL injuries are a common phenomenon among people who engage in highly demanding physical activities. This can result in a loose knee that prevents them from participating in regular sports, even with an extended period of physiotherapy and rehabilitation.

ACL Tear

What is an ACL Tear?

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is a ligament that provides stability to the knee joint. 

An ACL tear commonly occurs when pivoting or landing badly from a jump. ACL injuries are a common phenomenon among people who engage in highly demanding physical activities more, especially high-intensity sports.

ACL injuries are a common phenomenon among people who engage in highly demanding physical activities. This can result in a loose knee that prevents them from participating in regular sports, even with an extended period of physiotherapy and rehabilitation.

Causes and Symptoms of ACL Tear

ACL tears are associated with sporting or fitness activities that put too much strain on the knee joint. In most cases, the ligament stretches instead of twists to firmly ground the foot. 

Causes 

  • A sudden change of direction while engaging in an intense physical activity
  • Trying to pivot while a foot is firmly planted
  • Landing awkwardly while jumping or stopping suddenly while running
  • The knee is being hit or injured in a collision

ACL tears can also result from non-movement-related causes such as:

  • Poor conditioning of knee
  • Wearing footwear that does not fit properly 
  • Playing on artificial turf surfaces or 
  • Using poorly maintained sports equipment, causing the knee to sprain

Symptoms

After the time of injury, you may experience some of these common symptoms of a torn ACL:

  • A loud pop or popping sensation at the knee 
  • Severe, abrupt pain to the knee while engaging in physical activity 
  • Rapid swelling of the knee
  • Unable to stand, walk or move the knee

After an ACL tear, you may experience a sensation of the knee giving way when playing or pivoting.

How is it diagnosed?

The diagnosis of a potential ACL injury starts with a medical practitioner taking the history of how your injury occurred.

Physical Examination 

The Orthopaedic Surgeon will assess the stability of your knee as well as look for other concomitant injuries.

Imaging tests 

X-rays and MRI scans may be performed to look for injuries and to confirm the diagnosis of an ACL tear. Also, scans can help to look for other associated injuries such as meniscus tears.

ACL Tear

How is it diagnosed?

The diagnosis of a potential ACL injury starts with a medical practitioner taking the history of how your injury occurred.

Physical Examination 

The Orthopaedic Surgeon will assess the stability of your knee as well as look for other concomitant injuries.

Imaging tests 

X-rays and MRI scans may be performed to look for injuries and to confirm the diagnosis of an ACL tear. Also, scans can help to look for other associated injuries such as meniscus tears.

ACL Tear

Treatment Options

Non-surgical treatment is a preferred option for less severe cases. Patients who do not often participate in intense activities such as running, jumping, or pivoting can particularly benefit from non-surgical treatment.

Depending on the severity of the damage on the ACL, a patient can benefit from surgery to reconstruct or repair an injury. Surgery is beneficial for people who engage in intense physical activities most of the time. Reconstruction involves using a tendon graft to replace the torn ACL.
Most patients will receive 9 months of physiotherapy after surgery before they can return to sports.

Keep in mind that if your condition requires surgery, your Orthopaedic Surgeon should always educate you on:

  • Risks of surgery
  • How to prepare for a surgery
  • What will be required for post-op care

Physiotherapy
Non-surgical treatment with physiotherapy is a preferred option for less active patients who do not participate in intense activities such as running, jumping, or pivoting.

Customised ACL Treatment
Every ACL injury is different. The benefit of such a tailored approach is that the Orthopaedic Surgeon can utilise the remaining ACL to improve the knee’s final function after surgery.
Read More

All-inside ACL Reconstruction
In this procedure, the new ACL is secured into sockets that are drilled into the bones of the knee.
Read More

ACL Preservation Surgery
This surgery allows a patient to avoid a full ACL Reconstruction. The Orthopaedic surgeon will repair part of the ACL and augment the irreparable component with a tendon graft. This is done to avoid removing the entire ACL and replacing it with a new one. ACL repair revolutionizes the treatment of ACL injuries by employing advanced surgical devices and techniques to repair the original, torn ligament. Only an estimated 20-30% of ACL tears are repairable, but this means that 20-30% of patients with ACL tears can preserve their original ACL and avoid having to sacrifice their ‘spare parts’ for an ACL reconstruction. ACL repair is technically more difficult, and the repair may fail to heal in around 10% of cases. However, with a successful healing, patients who have undergone ACL repairs rehabilitate much faster and potentially have better function than patients who have undergone the traditional ACL reconstruction surgery.
Read More

Disclaimer

Shoulder | Elbow Orthopaedic Group does not endorse any treatments, procedures, products, or physicians that are referenced in this article. This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific orthopaedic advice or assistance should consult his or her Orthopaedic Surgeon.

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected]

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