The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) is one of the two ligaments that control the back and forth motion of the knee. ACL tears are the most common types of ligament tears, and occurs more commonly with active females. Symptoms of a damaged ACL are as follows:
- Discomfort and pain while walking
- “Popping” noise at the time of injury
Damage to the ACL can be caused by:
- A blow to the side of the knee
- A twisting motion with feet planted on the floor
- Stopping too or changing directions too quickly
Surgeries to repair ACL damage is usually recommended only for complete tears, and active individuals involved in sports or work in an environment that requires pivoting motion of the body. The ACL reconstruction procedure, which can be done arthroscopically, involves taking a graft from another ligament in the patient’s body and replacing the damaged ACL. A successful surgery will allow an individual to return back to normal activities.
Although the ACL reconstruction procedure is likely to have a successful outcome there are risks of complications, as with any surgery. These complications include:
- Nerve damage
- Blood clots
- Limited range of motion
- Repeated Injury
- Unsuccessful healing of the ligament
After surgery, patients will be required to wear a knee brace and keep the leg non-weight bearing by using crutches for the first 1 to 4 weeks. It is imperative for the patient to follow physical therapy and exercise instructions for a successful recovery. Everyone’s recovery time will be different. Most patients can expect to return to normal activity after 4 to 6 months.