Anterior cruciate ligaments (ACL)

ACL injury is a commonly experienced problem not only among athletes, but also affects people whose physical activity is at a much lower level. What you will learn in this article:

What is the anterior cruciate ligament ACL
The anterior cruciate ligament is one of the main stabilizers of the knee. It prevents the sliding of the joint during sports and other activities that require sudden stops or turns.

What are the symptoms of damage to the anterior cruciate ligament ACL
Typical anterior cruciate ligament injury is associated with joint sprain or tear and is associated with a characteristic “pop” sound which accompanies  ligament tear. Usually strong pain is present and full extension is a problem. Swelling appears.

What should I do in case of injury to the anterior cruciate ligament ACL

  • Do not load the injured leg
  • Rest and limit the amount of movement
  • Use an icepack
  • Use compression bandages (elastic)
  • Try to keep the leg above the heart
  • Contact your doctor

How is the anterior cruciate ligament injuries ACL diagnosed?
Injury of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL ) is diagnosed after the a doctor- patient interview, clinical assessment of the knee and a series of physical tests. Diagnostic imaging tests are also useful. An X-ray can exclude any fracture within the joint. Ultrasound and Magnetic Resonance diagnose damage to other structures in the knee, which often accompany an ACL rupture, such as meniscus or articular capsule.

Is the injury is permanent?

A torn ACL does not regenerate itself. However, surgery is not always required. Most people with an ACL injury will not have problems with the instability of the joint at work and during other basic daily activities. By doing appropriate exercises aimed at strengthening muscles and improving the stabilization of the entire body, most people will be able to do amateur sports such as swimming, cycling or running.

People who work physically demanding and practicing sport with a large amount of starts, stops, and direction changes, may approach conservative treatment. However, in their case the probability of eliminating the instability of the knee in such a way is much smaller.

The level of instability depends on many factors. Age, muscle strength and endurance, overall stability of the body, the level of sport activity. Most orthopedics will recommend the reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament to the young and physically active, whose ligament rupture interferes with their daily activity.

Anterior cruciate ligament rupture is often accompanied by other injuries. For example, damage to the meniscus can cause chronic pain, blocking of the joint and swelling.

When to undergo surgery:

There are two possibilities:

Immediately – up to 10 days after the injury. Such an option is recommended to professional athletes for whom a quick return to the arena is extremely important.

A few weeks after injury. A recommended solution for a vast majority of people with an anterior cruciate ligament rupture. In the period between injury and surgery rehabilitation is extremely important, as it will restore a full range of motion, strength and muscle endurance.

– conservative treatment
– surgery