ACL Tear Q&A
What is an ACL tear?
An anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear is an injury to one of the four major ligaments in the knee. Your knee is a large, complex joint that forms the connection between your shinbone, thigh bone, and kneecap, all held together by ligaments.
The ACL runs diagonally through the center of the knee, preventing the shinbone from moving out in front of the thigh bone and providing stability during knee rotation.
An ACL tear occurs when you overstretch the ligament, causing a partial or complete tear. A ligament injury is called a sprain.
What are the symptoms of an ACL tear?
When you injure your ACL, you may hear a popping sound the moment it occurs. Soon after, your knee swells and becomes painful. If you ignore your symptoms, the pain and swelling may resolve. However, your knee remains unstable.
Other ACL tear symptoms include pain when walking, knee tenderness, and a decrease in range of motion.
If you suspect you have an ACL tear, you should rest and elevate your leg and schedule an appointment at Prairie Garden Medical right away.
What happens during an ACL tear examination?
The Prairie Garden Medical team conducts a thorough evaluation when you come in with concerns about an ACL tear. They review your symptoms and the activity that caused the injury.
The team examines your knee and can diagnose an ACL tear following a physical exam but may request imaging tests to confirm the injury and the severity of the damage.
Prairie Garden Medical has an on-site radiology department, so there’s no need to go to another facility for imaging.
What are the treatments for an ACL tear?
Treatment for an ACL tear depends on your individual needs. An ACL tear can’t heal on its own, but not everyone needs surgery. If you live a fairly sedentary lifestyle, the team may recommend physical therapy and bracing to improve knee stability.
For active individuals, the team at Prairie Garden Medical performs surgery to rebuild the ligament. The highly skilled team uses minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery to repair the injury, minimizing damage and reducing recovery time.
However, healing following surgery takes at least six months. The team at Prairie Garden Medical includes physical therapy to support the postsurgical healing process.
For comprehensive care for your ACL tear, call Prairie Garden Medical or schedule an appointment online today.