Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Tear
What is an ACL Tear?
The ACL prevents the knee from moving in ways it should not. Specifically, the ACL prevents the top of the leg (the femur) from moving too far over the bottom of the leg (the tibia and fibula). A tear of this ligament is termed an ACL tear.
Mechanism of Tear
This is a serious traumatic injury of the knee. Most people tear their ACL playing sports, such as football, basketball, and soccer. In addition, bicycle accidents and slip and fall injuries are common mechanisms of injury. A serious twisting motion of the knee is required to tear an ACL. It typically occurs on a planted leg.
Treatment of an Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tear
An ACL tear is a common injury that always requires surgery to treat. Once the swelling goes down and an MRI has demonstrated a ligament tear, an orthopedic surgeon will fashion a new ACL ligament to replace the torn one. This typically comes from a piece of the hamstring. Once repaired, patients require physical therapy to regain mobility and strength in their knee.
Complications are Possible
There are many complications and comorbidities which can develop from an ACL tear. The knee will commonly swell up and patients could develop arthritis at an earlier age. The most significant issue patients have is re-injury. Those who tear their ACL are at a greater risk of tearing it again when compared to other people.
Other Structures are Vulnerable
Undoubtedly, the other structures are risk include the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) and the two collateral ligaments of the knee (MCL and/or LCL). Furthermore, the meniscus is also at risk, both the medial and lateral. It is not unusual for a patient to tear more than one of the above ligaments.
There are several different diagnoses that must be considered with an ACL tear. These include:
- Posterior Cruciate Ligament Tear
- Lateral Collateral Ligament Tear
- Medial Collateral Ligament Tear
- Medial Meniscus Tear
- Lateral Meniscus Tear
Patients who have suffered an ACL tear will typically take one year to recover fully and return to sports. Patients will need physical therapy and are at a higher risk of re-injury when compared to the general public. A return to sports is possible.
Surgery is Necessary
Once imaging demonstrates a ligament tear of the ACL, surgery will be required to fix it. The surgical procedure will lead to an extensive recovery process that requires rehab for every patient to regain full strength.
Contact an Experienced ACL Tear Attorney
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