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ACL Knee Injuries (Anterior Cruciate Ligament)

Injuries to the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) are the most common knee injuries seen.

The ACL is critical to knee stability, strength and mobility and is generally injured when the knee is sharply twisted or extended beyond its normal range of motion. People who injure their ACL often complain of the following symptoms:

  • A popping sound that comes from inside the knee

  • A feeling that the knee is giving away

  • Immediate, intense knee pain

  • Immediate swelling, inflammation, redness and slight bruising

Not all ACL injuries will require surgical intervention. It depends on the grade of the ACL injury. Dr. Parikh will perform Lachmans test to pinpoint how much of the tibia moves in relation to the femur. Pain, swelling, and muscle spasms in the early stages of an ACL injury may make it difficult to determine how much instability is occurring. So, rather than performing a manual test, Dr. Parikh will perform an X-ray or MRI.

The ACL knee injury typically is diagnosed in ranges from mild to severe:

  • Mild knee injury will be some pain and swelling, but this injury can heal on its own through rest, the use of ice and anti-inflammatory medications and therapeutic knee exercises.

  • Medium injury will include some tears to the knee fibers. Symptoms will be more severe. This will sometimes require surgery.

  • Severe injury in a ACL represents a complete tear whereas the fibers of the knee ligament are completely torn in half will require surgery to fix.

Treatment

Non-Surgical

  • R: Rest the knee by using crutches and keeping weight off of it

  • I: Ice the knee

  • C: Compress the knee with a wrap

  • E: Elevate the leg

Surgical

If more than one ligament in the knee has been torn, or if the ACL tear is a full tear. ACL surgery may be recommended.

An ACL reconstruction is a surgical procedure-almost always performed arthroscopically. Dr. Parikh usually prefer to use a Cadavar tissue for the graft.

ACL reconstruction can either be performed in an out-patient setting, or as an in-patient procedure with an overnight hospital stay.


Information obtain from www.orthoinfo.aaos.org

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