What is an ACL Tear/Injury?
An ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tear/injury is one of the most common and well-known orthopedic injuries. The ACL is a very important ligament because it prevents the tibia (shin bone) from sliding in front of the femur (thigh bone). The ACL stabilizes the knee while walking, running, jumping, and moving from side to side. An ACL tear/injury usually occurs during running and jumping sports and activities. Movements that cause an ACL tear/injury are:
- Suddenly changing directions
- Suddenly stopping
- Landing from a jump
A blow to the knee may also be a cause. Symptoms include pain, swelling, and instability. Patients who sustain an ACL tear/injury should see an Orthopaedic Institute of Central Jersey (OIOCJ) specialist as soon as possible. A physical examination determines the severity of the tear/injury. Once swelling decreases, X-rays, and an MRI are ordered and analyzed. An accurate diagnosis is always made.
How is an ACL Tear/Injury Treated?
Nonsurgical treatment options are used to treat an ACL sprain or partial tear. The following may be included in a customized OIOCJ treatment plan:
- Medications. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) decrease pain and swelling.
- Physical therapy. Exercises strengthen the ACL and surrounding muscles, ligaments and tendons.
- Immobilization. A brace and crutches take the weight off the knee.
- Activity modification. Slowing down or stopping activities that caused the injury or cause symptom flare-ups.
Complete ACL tears usually require surgical intervention. During an ACL repair, an OIOCJ specialist removes the torn ACL and replaces with hamstring tendons or a cadaver ligament. Physical therapy after surgery is an important part of recovery. Strength and flexibility are regained during one-on-one appointments with an OIOCJ approved physical therapist. To schedule your appointment with an OIOCJ specialist, call 732-276-4334 or visit our contact page.