All about ACL Tear and its treatment
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear is one of the most common knee injuries. The ACL is one among several bands of tissues in the knee that offers stability to your knee joint. It connects your femur (thigh bone) to the tibia (shinbone). Some of the functions associated with the ACL include:
- It contributes to knee stability especially when you are turning or twisting
- It holds the femur and tibia in place during movements
- It plays an important role in activities that demand pivoting and quick cutting
ACL injuries fall into three major categories:
- Injuries that involve stretching of the ligament fibers, with no tearing involved that is a first-degree sprain
- Injuries that result in the tearing of some of the fibers while others are left intact that is, second-degree sprain
- A tearing of all the ligament fiber causes an unstable knee that is also ACL-deficient. This constitutes a third-degree sprain
ACL injuries happen in one of the following two scenarios:
- A person may be running and suddenly, he or she makes a quick turn or cut. Consequently, the ligament fibers come under a lot of strain, in effects resulting in spraining
- Something or someone falls onto your knee while the knee is situated in place. The ligament comes under strain owing to the excessive force
ACL injuries occur mainly occur during sporting activities such as basketballs, skiing, and football.
Many of the individuals who have had an ACL injury report feeling a “popping” sensation or hearing a pop sound in their knee. An ACL injury may result in an unstable and swollen knee. Additionally, your knee might be very painful to the point where it cannot bear any weight. Treatment for an ACL injury is largely determined by the severity of the injury and may include rest and rehabilitation and in severe cases, a surgical procedure is recommended to replace the torn ligament.
What can cause an ACL injury?
Most ACL injuries happen as a result of non-contact mechanisms. The rest of the injuries happen through contact with an object or player. ACL injuries are common in fitness and sporting activities. Some of the sporting activities capable of putting strain on your knee include:
- Pivoting, even as your foot remains firmly planted on the ground
- Jumping, such as in rugby or basketball, and you end up landing in an awkward position
- Running fast with the ball, such as in football, followed by deceleration and change of direction
- Making a sudden stop
- Colliding with a colleague in a sporting activity as happens in rugby or football, or receiving a blow to your knee
Damage to the knee ligament can lead to a complete or partial tear of the tissues, depending on the impact involved. If the injury is mild, you may end up stretching your ligament, but it remains firmly in place. Some of the risk factors that would predispose you to an ACL injury include:
- Poor conditioning
- Being female – women are more prone to ACL injuries, perhaps as a result of differences in muscle strength and anatomy. Hormonal imbalance may also play a key role in this
- In case your footwear does not fit properly
- Faulty movement patterns. For example, during a squat, if you happen to move your knees inward this might predispose you to an ACL injury
- Playing on an artificial turf
- In case the sports equipment is not properly maintained, you are at risk of an ACL injury
- Engaging in sporting activities like basketball, football, and skiing
What are the symptoms of an ACL injury?
One of the defining symptoms of an ACL injury is a popping noise in your knee. However, not everyone gets to hear or experience the popping sensation. Other common symptoms for an ACL injury include:
- Swelling: You are likely to get a swelling on the affected knee. This will probably take place in the first 24 hours following the injury. Propping the leg up on a pillow may help to minimize the swelling. An ice pack would also help to reduce such swelling
- Pain: In case the injury is a minor one, you may not feel such pain. Pain as a result of an ACL injury is usually experienced in the form of soreness along the joint line in your knee. As a result of such pain, you may have a hard time putting weight on the injured leg. Other people will experience difficulties in standing using the hurt leg
- Difficulties in walking: Walking becomes a problem if you have an ACL injury. This is because your leg cannot take the pressure of extra weight while walking. Other people report feeling loose on the injured knee.
- Limited range of motion: Once you have sustained an injury on your ACL, you may have a hard time flexing or bending your knee like you would want to
Sometimes, the initial ACL injury may also lead to the damage of other knee structures as well. For example, you may end up injuring other tendons, ligaments, or cartilage on the knee. The additional injuries lead to increased swelling and pain. Consequently, it becomes complicated to both diagnose and treat the condition.
Diagnosing an ACL tear
To diagnose an ACL injury, your healthcare provider will start by first taking a history of the injury. Here, you may be required to describe the position of your leg and body at the time when the accident or injury occurred. Your healthcare provider may also be interested in the sequence of events that took place prior to, during, and following the injury.
Your healthcare provider will thereafter conduct a physical examination of the injured knee. This will help to determine whether there has been any bruising, or swelling that is evident. Your doctor will also check for any evidence of knee joint fluid or tenderness. He or she will also test the four knee ligaments to establish which one of those is damaged.
The Lachman test is also useful in determining the strengths and stability of the ACL. During the test, your healthcare provider will ask you to flex the damaged knee between 20 and 30 degrees. The healthcare provider will then grasp the tibia with one hand and the thigh with the other hand. In case the tibia moves forward this is an indication of a torn ligament.
An x-ray would also help to reveal fractures and a torn ACL. Your doctor may also order magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This test provides a high-quality image of the knee and the injured ligament. In the case of a damaged ACL, this becomes evident in the images.
Arthroscopy may also be another helpful test. The exam is conducted by an orthopedic surgeon. He or she first makes a small cut on your skin. They will then insert an arthroscope via the skin into the joint. An arthroscope is a small instrument the size of a pencil. It contains a lens and a lighting system. The camera helps to project an image of the injured knee on a screen. In this way, the orthopedic surgeon gets to see the nature of the injury and therefore decides on the most appropriate way to repair or correct it.
What are the treatment options for an ACL injury?
The treatment options for an ACL injury are dependent on the extent of the injury. The following are some of the options that your doctor might recommend:
In case you have sustained a minor injury elevating the injured leg or placing ice on the knee may be enough to reduce the swelling. Your doctor will also advise you to keep off your feet for some time. He or she may also recommend the use of crutches to avoid putting weight on the torn knee.
Your doctor may also prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs. These will assist in reducing pain and swelling. If the pain is severe, a steroid medication injected into the injured knee can be helpful.
Your doctor may also recommend that you wear a knee brace while participating in any sporting activity. In this case, the knee brace offers much-needed extra support.
Physical therapy sessions are also helpful in managing ACL injuries. The sessions help to strengthen your knee muscles. Additionally, physical therapy helps to regain your knee’s functionality.
In case of a minor tear or strain to your ACL, physical therapy, coupled with first aid and rest may heal the problem over time. On the other hand, in case your ACL is completely torn, it needs to be replaced. A surgical procedure assists with the removal of your damaged ligament followed by replacing it with new tissues. This promotes the growth of new ligaments.
ACL reconstruction takes place arthroscopically. The goal is to promote proper graft placements. It also reduces the risk of complications. During ACL reconstruction surgery, your orthopedic surgeon will remove the torn ligament. The surgeon replaces the torn ligament with a new graft. This new graft can be obtained from various sources.
Your orthopedic surgeon will recommend physical therapy for a few weeks. This is aimed at reducing swelling and pain. Physical therapy aids in restoring the full range of your knee options. Additionally, it improves your muscle strength. In case you go into surgery while your knee is swollen or stiff, it becomes very hard to regain full range of motion post-surgery.
ACL reconstruction is undertaken as an outpatient procedure. In other words, you are allowed to go home several hours after the procedure. We will make arrangements to have you driven to the clinic for the procedure. We will also make transport arrangements for you after surgery
In case you are in any dietary supplements or other medication, make sure to tell your surgeon about this. Your doctor may also ask you to stop drinking or eating anything besides medication on the eve of the procedure.
ACL reconstruction occurs under general anesthesia. Your surgeon makes small incisions near the source of injury and inserts a tube-like video camera. This promotes accessing the joint space using surgical instruments.
Your surgeon removes the damaged ligaments. He or she takes a segment of the tendon and replaces the damaged ligament. The graft is sourced from a deceased donor, a different part of your tendon or knee. The graft is positioned in place using drilling tunnels or sockets into your shinbone and thigh bone. This helps to secure the graft in place. New tissue grows on the graft which acts as scaffolding.
Post-Op care and diet
After surgery, you will be moved to a recovery room. A nurse will be on standby to observe your vitals and to ensure that everything is going on well. Once the surgeon is satisfied that the surgery went on well, you will be released to go home. You may be requested to wear a splint or knee brace as this will protect the graft.
You may also be instructed on how to reduce pain and swelling after surgery while at home. For example, applying an ice pack or elevating the knee is helpful.
Your surgeon may also prescribe medication to reduce pain. Such medication can be purchased over-the-counter, and include ibuprofen and acetaminophen. Your surgeon will also advise you on the duration of time you may use crutches. He or she will also tell you when your knee will be ready to bear any weight. Some athletes who have undergone ACL reconstruction may take 12 months or more before they can resume competitive sporting activities.
Physical therapy constitutes a vital aspect of ACL surgery. At times, exercise may commence as soon as the surgery is completed. The success of ACL reconstructive surgery is mainly hinged on your dedication to participating in rigorous physical therapy. The emergence of stronger graft fixation, coupled with novel surgical techniques has helped to fast-track rehabilitation.
ACL reconstruction surgery is characterized by a low incidence of infection post-operation. However, it is important to be vigilant. Make sure to notify your surgeon promptly in case of an infection, numbness, or bleeding.
If you are actively involved in sporting activities such as tennis, basketball, and football, you have probably heard of or experienced an ACL tear. This is among the most common knee injuries. The injury can cause knee instability, not to mention the swelling and pain that accompanies it. A torn ACL will not heal or regrow on its own. Home remedies will not also work for this kind of injury. In such a case, surgery is recommended. It is important, therefore, that you get a timely diagnosis for an ACL tear so that you can receive prompt treatment and alleviate the pain caused by the condition.
Benefits of ACL Reconstruction Surgery in Bangalore
- Minimally invasive surgery
- Affordable cost
- Minimum side effects
- Very fast recovery
Goficure for ACL Reconstruction surgery in Bangalore
At goficure, we have a very experienced team of doctors in conducting ACL tear surgery. They are among the most qualified surgeons in Bangalore as far as ACL tear treatment is concerned. We have the most advanced laser surgery equipment in Bangalore for conducting ACL tear treatment safely. We usually recommend laser surgery in treating ACL tear because the procedure is safer, less invasive, and has less risk of bleeding than conventional surgery. Also, the success rate is higher, plus you get to recover more quickly. Goficure will assist you with everything that you need to have a safe and successful ACL tear treatment in Bangalore. We will schedule your consultation with your surgeon who will proceed to make a formal diagnosis for the condition. We also make the necessary arrangements with hospitals across Bangalore that specialize in ACL tear surgery. We will have you picked from your home, take you through the surgery successfully, and drop you back home. In case you need to have your insurance claimed, we will also help with that. Our post-op care is one of the best in Bangalore. We not only offer a highly discounted post-op consultation, but you will also receive and guidance and dietary advice from qualified nutritionists in Bangalore to ensure a quick recovery.
Exclusive features you get with goficure
1. Dedicated Medi-Pal
A dedicated Medi-Pal is assigned to you. Your Medi-Pal will be your one point contact throughout the treatment and post-op period. They will always be available for you
2. Quick doctor’s appointments
After understanding your concerns, your Medi-Pal will schedule your consultation with a specialist doctor. Your doctor will carry out necessary tests and advise the course of treatment
3. Hassle-free treatment
If you opt to get the surgery done, goficure will take care of it completely. Right from booking your surgery, claiming your insurance to being with you throughout the procedure, your Medi-Pal will do it all
4. Post-op recovery support
Your Medi-Pal would ensure quick recovery. This includes booking your follow up consultations and helping you with doctor-recommended steps for diet & exercise
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