One of the most common knee injuries that you can develop as someone with an active lifestyle is an ACL tear. Your ACL or anterior cruciate ligament is one of the components that help connect your thigh bone to your shin bone. It plays an important role in keeping your knee stable. It also prevents your shinbone from sliding forward.
The ACL runs across the middle of the knee and accounts for over 200,000 injuries in the United States. The incidence of ACL tears is higher in athletes or those who play sports in any capacity.
While common, an ACL tear is a serious injury that requires treatment guided by a medical professional. An ACL tear may be treated non-surgically or surgically, depending on the severity of the tear. Complete tears usually require surgical repair.
Conservative treatments usually involve immobilization and physical therapy. You may need to wear a brace and use an assistive device as your ACL heals. Physical therapy for ACL rehabilitation includes strengthening exercises focusing on the surrounding muscles and structures for pain relief and gradual restoration of knee function.
There is a risk of your knee becoming unstable due to this injury. For this reason, physical therapy and regular examinations are necessary to pinpoint and address issues with the knee prior to other injuries or issues developing.
The surgery to repair an ACL tear is called ACL reconstruction surgery, in which a surgeon harvests a tendon from another part of the knee and replace the damaged ACL with the grafted tendon.
Rehabilitation from ACL tear reconstruction includes physical therapy, which usually begins immediately after surgery. You may also be prescribed pain medication because there will be pain and swelling, which is your body’s natural response to trauma from surgery. You will also wear a brace after surgery and use assistive devices to stand and walk for several weeks.
The successful outcome of the surgery will depend on your level of participation in rehabilitation. You will need to practice proper wound care and anti-inflammatory care (like applying ice to the area) and work to regain your strength and mobility with the help of a physical therapist. Physical therapy can help strengthen your leg muscles, like the quadriceps and hamstrings. It can also help make you more flexible and mobile. Physical therapy also helps you heal faster and reduces pain symptoms.
One of the first questions people wonder after getting an ACL tear is how quickly they can return to normal function. The answer to this question is complicated. First, it depends on the severity of the tear. If you need nonsurgical treatment, your recovery will likely be shorter, at about several weeks. If your tear is significant and requires surgical correction, your recovery period will likely be a few months. If there are any complications during surgery or if your overall health is compromised, your recovery may be longer. Finally, your recovery success will also depend on how well you do physical therapy and follow your doctor and physical therapist’s orders. Make sure to regularly discuss any symptoms, limitations, and issues you may be having during recovery with your doctor and physical therapist.
ACL Tear Treatment in North Dakota
Since 1974, the experts at the Bone & Joint Center have been helping patients recover from all types of orthopedic injuries and conditions. We specialize in both the conservative and surgical treatments of all kinds of musculoskeletal injuries. In our clinics, you will receive comprehensive care and treatment, from diagnosis all the way to rehabilitation.
To schedule a consultation, call The Bone & Joint Center at (701) 946-7400 or (866) 900-8650 or request an appointment now. Our staff looks forward to serving you.