Knee Pain Relief: an ACL Injury & the Role of Reconstructive Surgery

Tears or ruptures of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) are common damages in athletes of different ages and activity levels.  ACL tears are treatable using arthroscopy and nominally invasive surgical methods. The medical success rates for ACL reconstruction exceed 95%. The anterior cruciate ligament is one of the main supportive ligaments in the knee. It runs from the lower leg bone (tibia) to the thigh bone (femur) at the knee. This ligament provides knee immovability by preventing extreme forward movement of the tibia in relation to the femur and is also significant in controlling rotation of the two bones.

While the ACL is not the most usually injured knee ligament, tears of this ligament normally lead to chronic knee instability or “giving way. Anterior cruciate ligament tears most commonly result during athletics from vital cutting, landing, deceleration or twisting damages. It is less common for ACL tears to happen as a result of physical contact or collisions during athletics.Many patients who undergo an ACL tear will know immediately that something “feels wrong” with the knee. Several patients report feeling or hearing a “pop” linked with pain and a sense of the knee “giving out”. The joint will usually swell within several hours which results in limited motion of the knee. It will become painful to bear weight on the damaged leg, and the patient will prefer to walk with assertive devices for added support, such as crutches or a cane. Sometimes, the patient may know-how the knee “giving way” when stressed with simple activities such as walking or changing directions.

What Causes an ACL Injury?

An ACL injury is generally sports-related knee damage. About 85% of sports-related ACL tears are “non-contact” damages. This means that the damage occurs without the contact of another player, such as a tackle in football. Most often ACL tears happen when pivoting or landing from a jump. Your knee gives-out from under you once you tear your ACL. Female athletes are known to have a higher risk of an ACL tear, while contributing in competitive sports. Unfortunately, understanding why women are more inclined to to ACL injury is uncertain. There are some suggestions it is bio mechanical, power and hormonal related. In truth, it is possibly a factor of all three.

What are the Symptoms of an ACL Injury?

The diagnosis of an ACL tear is made by numerous methods. Patients who have an ACL tear generally sustain a sports-related knee injury. They may have felt or heard a “pop” in their knee, and the knee generally gives-out from under them. ACL tears cause knee swelling and pain.

How is an ACL Injury Diagnosed?

On clinical knee checkup, your physiotherapist or sports surgeon will look for signs of ACL ligament instability. These special ACL tests places stress on the anterior cruciate ligament, and can notice an ACL tear or rupture.

How is an ACL Injury Treated?

Many patients with an ACL tear start to feel healthier within a few days or weeks of ACL injury. These individuals may feel as though their knee is normal again, as their swelling has started to settle. However, this is when your problems with knee instability and giving way may start or worsen.ACL tears do not essentially require ACL reconstruction operation. There are several significant factors to consider before deciding to undertake ACL reconstruction operation.

  1. Your age
  2. If you regularly perform sports or activities that normally require a functional ACL
  3. If you experience knee instability
  4. You need to plan for the future

If you don’t contribute in a multi-directional sport that requires a patent ACL, and you don’t have an unstable knee, then you may not need ACL operation.


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