An estimated 200,000 ACL-related injuries occur annually in the United States, and approximately 100,000 ACL reconstructions are performed each year.
When you plant your foot, change direction suddenly, or even change your speed of movement, the ACL keeps your knee stable in the midst of tremendous force. That is why most ACL injuries occur in sports such as basketball, football, skiing, or soccer.
The diagnosis of an ACL tear is made by reviewing your symptoms and medical history and performing a physical examination of the knee. If you are diagnosed with an ACL tear, is surgery the only treatment option?
The treatment for a torn ACL depends largely on the severity of the tear and the patient’s future goals.
Minor tears can be treated with non-surgical treatment. Rest, ice, compression, and elevation can help reduce swelling and pain. Physical therapy can help strengthen the muscles in the legs and bring stability to the knee while compensating for the torn ACL.
For older patients who are not returning to sports, non-surgical treatment may provide adequate knee stability and function.
Full or large tears cannot heal without surgery. The usual surgery for an ACL tear is an ACL reconstruction which tightens your knee and restores its stability. Surgery to reconstruct an ACL is performed with an arthroscope, using small incisions. During surgery, the torn ligament is replaced with a tissue graft. Younger patients, athletes, or weekend warriors who desire to return to their sport or activities will most likely require surgery.
Although a torn ACL is a common injury, the treatment plan is not common to everyone. Treatment for a torn ACL is specific to each patient depending on the severity of the tear and the patient’s future goals. If you have torn your ACL, make an appointment to have your knee evaluated and we can discuss your future goals and what treatment option is best for achieving those goals.
Milan M. DiGiulio, M.D. offers comprehensive orthopedic care for you and your entire family, specializing in Sports Medicine and arthroscopic surgery of the shoulder and knee. Dr. DiGiulio performs over 150 arthroscopic shoulder and knee surgeries each year, using the most advanced surgical technology. Dr. DiGiulio is an advocate of non-invasive, non-surgical treatment options such as Physical Therapy and Orthobiologics.