Injuries are common among athletes involved in high-impact contact sports like football and soccer. And ACL tears are the most common knee injuries. Mild tears can be managed through a conservative approach, however severe ACL tears may require surgical intervention.
The orthopedic surgery Clifton NJ team comprises experienced orthopedic surgeons and sports medicine specialists, who offer minimally invasive procedures like arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn ACL.
An introduction to ACL tear
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the major ligaments of your knee joint that runs diagonally across the middle of your knee. The ACL stabilizes your knee by limiting excess rotational movements.
ACL tears usually occur due to overstretching which can be either partial or complete depending on the extent of damage. The severity of the torn ACL can be graded as:
- Grade I sprain- Mild damage with partial overstretch of the ACL
- Grade II sprain- Moderate damage where the ACL stretches to the point where it becomes loose.
- Grade III sprain- Severe damage where the ACL has been torn or pulled off the bone. This can destabilize your knee.
Causes of ACL tear
ACL injuries can occur in several different ways such as:
- Sudden stops while running
- Sudden slowing down when you are running
- Landing incorrectly from jumps
- Changing directions suddenly (cutting)
- Colliding with someone else, such as a football tackle
- Overextending (hyperextension) of the knee joint
Clinical manifestations of an ACL tear
The most striking clinical features of an ACL tear include:
- Severe pain and swelling in your knee
- Loss of range of motion (ROM)
- A loud ‘pop’ sound when you try to flex and extend your knee
- A feeling of instability (buckling or giving way) with weight bearing
Diagnostic criteria for an ACL tear
Diagnosis for ACL tears include:
- Medical history evaluation to rule out other medical conditions like diabetes or blood disorders
- Review of your symptoms of pain and swelling
- Physical examination to check your knee mobility and range of motion
- Imaging tests like X-ray or MRI
Treating ACL tears
Your doctor will determine the type of treatment for ACL tear based on the severity of the damage.
Mild ACL tears
- Ice compressions
- Knee braces
- Physical therapy
- Regenerative medicine such as PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injections
Severe ACL tears
- This is the most popular orthopedic surgery recommended for severe tears and athletes.
- It is a minimally invasive surgery that involves inserting an arthroscope through keyhole-sized incisions to repair the torn ACL.
ACL tears can destabilize your knees if not treated on time. Severe ACL tears especially among athletes require surgical intervention for them to return to their sports.
Arthroscopic surgery can help repair your torn ACL successfully, thereby restoring the range of motion of your knee.