What Is An ACL Injury?
An anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury is a tear in one of the knee ligaments that joins the upper leg bone with the lower leg bone. The ACL keeps the knee stable. An ACL injury may range from mild to severe, such as when a ligament tears completely or when the ligament and part of the bone separate from the rest of the bone. Without treatment your knee is less stable and the bones are more likely to rub against each other. Sometimes other injuries may occur such as a torn meniscus, or bones in the knee joint which can be broken.
What Are The Causes And Symptoms Of An ACL Injury?
An ACL can be injured if your knee is bent backward, twisted, or bent side to side, and the chance of an injury is higher when more than one of these movements occurs at the same time. Client’s will often suffer symptoms from this injury after hearing a pop in the knee at the time of the injury. The client may also experience pain on the outside and back of the knee and swelling within the first few hours of the injury. You will likely have a feeling that the knee is unstable, or buckling, or likely to give out.
How Is An ACL Injury Treated?
If the tear and symptoms of instability are mild, the client will likely be treated with physical therapy and medications to decrease pain and swelling. You will also be prescribed exercises to regain normal movement of the joints and range of motion exercises to regain full movement in your knee. An ACL brace may also be suggested. This type of brace is custom made and designed to improve knee stability.
If the instability is not controlled by the brace and rehab program, surgery may be recommended. In order to repair the ACL surgically a piece of a tendon or ligament is used from another part of the body to replace the torn ACL. Sometimes an allograft reconstruction is performed. Allograft refers to tissue that comes from a donor. Common places that tendons are taken from in order to replace the ACL are the knee cap (patella) and hamstring (semitendinosus). The surgery is often performed arthroscopically, and can now be done on an outpatient basis. Many clients return home the same day as the surgery, while some will have to stay a night or two in the hospital.
What Should I Expect After Surgery?
Most clients are ordered to take part in a progressive rehabilitation program for four to six months after surgery. You should expect to see your physical therapist two to three times a week for the first six weeks. If your treatment is going well, you may then participate in a home program and only see your physical therapist every few weeks over the remaining four to six month period.
Contact Attorney Douglas V. Stoehr if you have suffered an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury due to a fall other type of accident caused by negligence. To schedule a free consultation, contact our west-central Pennsylvania law firm by calling 814-515-9074 or email us.