An ACL Tear usually occurs while playing sports. If you experience one or more of the below symptoms, you may have an ACL Tear-
A sudden change in direction can stress and damage the ACL ligament. That is why ACL injuries most commonly occur while playing sports like soccer, basketball, football, downhill skiing or gymnastics where there may be one or more of the following –
There are certain factors that may increase your risk of an ACL Tear. These may include –
Females are at a higher risk of having an ACL Tear than men, possibly due to differences in anatomy, muscle strength and hormones.
Your doctor will perform a physical exam to check your knee for swelling or tenderness and compare your injured knee to the uninjured one.
The doctor may also move your knee in different directions to assess the range of motion of the joint. Often this is the only diagnosis needed for an ACL Tear.
However, in order to determine the severity of the injury, further tests may be ordered –
In case your ACL Tear is minor, you may only need at-home care which includes –
Your doctor may recommend you to undergo physical therapy to strengthen knee muscles and restore its full range of motion.
Surgery to treat the torn ACL i.e. ACL reconstruction surgery will be recommended only if:
In this surgery, the damaged ligament is reconstructed using a graft taken from your own body.
After surgery, you will be required to undergo a rehabilitation process to increase range of motion in the joint, strengthen the knee muscles, protect the new ligament and stabilize the knee.
Having an ACL Tear can put you at a higher risk of developing arthritis of that knee.
If the torn ACL is left untreated, the tibia and femur bone can rub against each other and this friction may cause damage to the knee cartilage.
Even after ACL reconstruction surgery, you may face certain complications including –
No, the ACL cannot heal by itself because there is no blood supply to this ligament. You must undergo immediate non-surgical or surgical procedures to avoid complications.
ACL reconstruction surgery has a few associated risks which include infection, blood clots, swelling of the newly grafted ligament and long-term knee stiffness.
Generally, you may require 6-9 months to recover and return to normal activity. Athletes may require a year or more before it is safe for them to return to play.
ACL reconstruction surgery is usually performed as an outpatient procedure i.e. you may return home on the same day immediately after the surgery.