The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in your knee is vulnerable to sporting injuries that result in pain and loss of function. Amun Makani, MD, MBA, FAAOS, and his team at Ascend Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine provide expert sports medicine care to the community of St. Petersburg, Florida. As a double board-certified orthopedic surgeon and orthopedic sports medicine specialist, Dr. Makani has extensive experience in treating patients with ACL tears and restoring their ability to participate in their chosen sport. Call the office today to learn more, or schedule an appointment online.
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the four main ligaments in your knee. There are collateral ligaments on either side of the knee, and the cruciate ligaments inside the knee that connect the bones to each other.
The two cruciate ligaments cross over inside your knee, posterior cruciate ligament at the back, anterior cruciate ligament at the front. Cruciate ligaments control the knee’s backward and forward movement.
Injuries to the ACL can range from a mild Grade 1 sprain, in which the ligament is stretched but not torn, to a Grade 3 sprain, where the ligament is torn in two, making the knee unstable.
The ACL is susceptible to injury from:
When the ligament tears, your knee may collapse under you, and you could hear a pop in the knee joint. Over the next 24 hours, your knee swells and the joint is tender and painful. It’s likely that the tear makes the knee unstable and you have problems walking, but in some cases, these symptoms go away on their own.
The problem then is that you believe the injury is healed and return to your normal activities, which could cause further damage.
Treatment for ACL tears depends on the extent of the injury and how active you are. If you need full function in the knee to participate in sports, then surgery is likely to be the best approach, as ACL tears can’t heal themselves.
On the other hand, if you’re older and have a quiet lifestyle, nonsurgical treatments may be all you require, such as using a knee brace and undergoing a program of physical therapy.
If you need surgery for an ACL tear, it involves a reconstruction process using a graft, as the cruciate ligaments can’t be sewn back together.
The healing process takes around six months after surgery, but you should regain full use of your knee as long as you follow your rehabilitation program.
If you have an ACL tear, call Ascend Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine today, or book an appointment with Dr. Makani online.