ACL injuries are common injuries and create instability of the knee.
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 ligaments 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 “Procedures” 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.
Every patient receives an in-depth consultation to devise a treatment plan that is right for their problem. Our specialists prefer non-operative and non-invasive treatments whenever possible, including physical therapy, medications, and/or injections. When we require surgery, we will then use minimally invasive surgical techniques to fix your problem, whether it is fixing a broken bone or repairing a tendon. Our goal is always to get you back to living your life normally as soon as possible.