Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Tears
An ACL tear is a tear or rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament, an important ligament which stabilises the knee. Minor ACL tears can usually be treated with rehabilitation and without surgery, however many cases of ACL tear are best treated with a short knee arthroscopic procedure.
How does an ACL tear feel?
ACL tear patients often report a loud “popping” sound at the moment of the injury, followed by a giving way of the knee, swelling, and instability in the joint. If a meniscus tear occurs at the same time, patients may also feel a sharp pain inside the knee. Most patients cannot place weight on the knee, however some may still be able to walk with a limited range of motion.
How do ACL tears occur?
ACL tears are caused by a sudden change of force and direction of the knee. Any activity involving abrupt stops, jumping, and sharp pivoting such as soccer, football, or skiing increases the likelihood of an ACL tear. Everyday activities such as turning sharply off a curb can also cause an ACL tear.
What is a partial ACL tear?
A partial tear is an incomplete rupture of the ACL. Patients usually recover more quickly than those with complete tears and may even retain some knee stability.
What is a complete ACL tear?
This is a total rupture of the ACL, and is more common than a partial tear. It completely destabilizes knee joint, hence the need for treatment.
How is an ACL tear treated?
In most cases, a combination of medication, arthroscopic ACL reconstruction, and physiotherapy produces a complete recovery.
A torn ACL will not generally not heal by itself, and is most often treated with arthroscopic surgery, a minimally invasive procedure to reconstructs the torn ligament. ACL surgery has a high rate of success, making it an ideal choice for active individuals looking to return to peak performance as quickly as possible. ACL surgery can also prevent permanent damage to the meniscus and surrounding cartilage and avoid the development of early onset arthritis.