The ACL, or “anterior cruciate ligament,” is a ligament that makes up the knee, which also has bones, cartilage, and tendons. Other ligaments, including the MCL, LCL, and PCL, also make up the architecture of the knee. The ACL specifically runs across the middle of the knee to prevent the tibia from slipping out of place while providing stability for rotating the knee. Stability using the ACL is often in high use during certain sports activities, such as soccer, basketball, football, or even skiing. ACL injuries may occur along with other injuries at the same time, including damage to the ligaments, cartilage, or meniscus. IN situations such as this, patients may need to consult with our doctors about ACL repair/reconstruction.
How do I know if I have an ACL injury?
There are distinct symptoms that may develop when a patient has experienced an injury to the anterior cruciate ligament. Common complains include:
- Loss of range of motion of the knee
- Pain in the knee when walking
- Tenderness along the joint line
- Swelling of the knee within the first 24 hours following injury
- A popping sound at the time of injury
- The knee giving out at the time of injury
To diagnose an ACL injury, our doctors will perform a full physical evaluation of the knee and the surrounding structures. Patients should describe how the injury occurred and what was felt to help the team better determine the best course of action for treatment. Diagnosis may include the use of an MRI, though many cases can be diagnosed with just a physical examination alone.
When do I require ACL repair?
ACL repair is often done when the area cannot heal on its own, which is typical of ACL tears. Ligament grafting is often performed during surgery to repair the ACL. Patients will need physical therapy after their procedure to help restore their range of motion and strengthen the area to reduce the risk of further damage.