Anterior Cruciate Ligament Repair

An ACL injury occurs when the anterior cruciate ligament becomes damaged through either a pull, twist, tear or other disruption of the knee. An injured ACL reduces stability in the knee and decreases support of the knee joint during athletic activity.

  • Injuries can vary in severity, ranging from a minor sprain to a complete tear or rupture of the ligament.
  • Injuries usually occur during an activity where the knee is forced side-to-side or unnaturally twisted.
  • Less serious injuries are frequently treatable with physical therapy alone, although a torn ligament will usually require surgery (a completely torn ligament cannot repair or reattach itself).
  • ACL surgery typically utilizes part of the patient’s own patellar tendon to rebuild the injured ligament.
  • Considerable pain in the knee that does not go away within the first few hours after the injury.
  • Immediate (usually within 24 hours) swelling of the knee.
  • A feeling of unsteadiness and a tendency for the knee to “give-way,” or an inability to bear weight on the injured leg.
  • An audible “pop” or the perception of something snapping or breaking at the moment of injury.
  • A feeling of “fullness or tightness” in the knee.
  • The patient has the signs and symptoms of an injured ACL.
  • After treatment, the patient experiences increasing pain or weakness in the joint.
  • The patient experiences unexplained symptoms, other types of pain, or unexpected side effects of medication.

ACL injuries usually occur during athletic activities and are common in running, jumping or during sudden twisting, turning or stopping movements. Typically, injuries are non-contact and are frequently associated with the sports of:

  • Football
  • Basketball
  • Soccer
  • Skiing
  • With proper care, most patients can expect a full recovery from an injured ACL.
  • Patients with less severe injuries may recover without surgery, using physical therapy to recondition the knee.
  • Patients with severe injuries, which require surgery, are also likely to return to previous levels of athletic activity; rehabilitation is demanding and recovery time can last longer than six months.
  • Patients are able to walk on a surgically treated ACL immediately following surgery, although knee bracing is required.

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