The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is one of the most commonly injured ligaments in the body. The ACL is found within the knee joint between the thighbone (femur) and shinbone (tibia) and acts to help stabilize the knee. Injured ligaments are considered “sprains” and are graded using a severity scale where a Grade 1 Sprain is a mildly damaged ligament to a Grade 3 Sprain where the ACL is completely torn. ACL injuries are acute injuries occurring from direct contact to the knee, a rapid direction change (i.e. pivot), sudden stopping or landing incorrectly from a jump. Patients will often feel immediate pain and experience swelling over the first 24 hours after the injury. Often the initial pain and swelling will resolve if ignored, however instability to the knee is often persistent and over time this instability can cause other posttraumatic conditions like damage to the meniscus or arthritis. A thorough physical examination can often diagnose this condition, although your doctor may order an MRI to confirm the diagnosis. Treatment for ACL injury depends on the severity and the patient’s individual needs. Nonsurgical treatment with bracing and physical therapy may be used for those with low-grade injuries, older individuals or those with very low activity levels. Otherwise, ACL tears are often surgically reconstructed using either an autograft (graft created from your own tissue) or allograft (cadaver graft) (See our “Treatments” section for more information). A personalized physical therapy program will play a vital role in rehabilitation and return to normal function of the knee after ACL reconstruction surgery.
As our patient, you will have an in-depth consultation with one of our doctors. We will create an individualized treatment plan together, tailored to your problem and lifestyle. Our doctors prefer non-invasive treatments whenever possible, including physical therapy and/or injections. If your problem ultimately does require surgery, our doctors prefer the least invasive surgical techniques possible. Our goals are the same as yours: to get you back to living your best life, pain free.