What is the ACL?
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the four key ligaments in the knee that gives the knee stability.
What is an ACL Injury?
ACL injuries include a partial tear or complete tear of the ACL. ACL injuries most commonly occur during sports or fitness activities that involve sudden changes in direction, sudden stops, and/or jumping and landing.
Symptoms of an ACL injury may include:
- Difficulty bearing weight on the knee
- Knee swelling
- Knee instability
- Hearing a loud popping sound
- Loss of mobility
How is an ACL Injury Treated?
Treatment for an ACL injury will depend on the severity of the ACL tear and the patient’s physical activity level.
Nonoperative treatments include:
- Physical Therapy and Bracing/Immobilization - This treatment option is best for patients who have mild-to-moderate physical activity levels. A brace and crutches will initially be ordered to stabilize the knee. Physical therapy will be ordered to gradually improve your knee strength, function and range of motion.
Surgical treatment options are best for patients who have moderate-to-high physical activity levels.
Surgical treatments include:
- ACL Repair Surgery - An ACL repair is a minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery that involves re-attaching the torn ACL to the bone.
- ACL Reconstruction Surgery - An ACL reconstruction is an arthroscopic procedure that involves removing the damaged ACL and replacing it with a tissue graft from another part of your knee or from a donor.
After surgery, patients will be placed in a brace and will use crutches. They will then be referred to physical therapy to gradually improve their knee strength, function, and range of motion.
Please call Orthopedic Institute of Santa Barbara to further discuss treatment options for an ACL injury with board-certified orthopedic surgeon, Dr. William Gallivan.