ACL Tear


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An ACL tear refers to a tear or rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), which is one of the major ligaments in the knee. The ACL provides stability to the knee joint, preventing excessive forward movement of the tibia (shinbone) relative to the femur (thighbone) and controlling rotational movements of the knee. ACL tears commonly occur during sports activities that involve sudden stops, changes in direction, or pivoting motions.

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Causes & Symptoms

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Some common causes of ACL tears include:

  • Sports Injuries: ACL tears frequently occur during sports activities that involve sudden stops, changes in direction, or pivoting movements
  • Non-Contact Injury: These injuries often result from a sudden change in direction or -landing awkwardly from a jump.
  • Deceleration and Landing with poor technique or incorrect body alignment
  • direct impacts to the knee
  • Pre-existing Conditions such as previous knee injuries

Individuals with an ACL tear often experience symptoms such as a "popping" sensation at the time of injury, immediate pain and swelling in the knee, instability or a feeling of the knee giving way, and difficulty bearing weight or walking.

Diagnosis and Treatment

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Physical examination involves assessing the stability of the knee joint and performing specific tests to check for ACL integrity. Imaging tests such as MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) may be used to confirm the diagnosis and evaluate the extent of the injury.

The management of an ACL tear depends on several factors, including the individual's age, activity level, associated injuries, and the desired level of knee stability. Treatment options can include both non-surgical and surgical approaches.

  • Non-Surgical Treatment: Non-surgical treatment may be considered for individuals with low activity levels or minimal instability. It typically involves a combination of physical therapy, bracing, and activity modification to help restore knee strength, stability, and function.
  • Surgical Treatment: Surgical intervention is often recommended for individuals who desire to return to high-demand activities or experience significant knee instability. ACL reconstruction surgery is the most common surgical procedure performed, involving the replacement of the torn ACL with a graft, typically harvested from the patient's own tissue or from a donor source.

Post operative care

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Rehabilitation plays a crucial role in recovering from an ACL tear, whether treated non-surgically or surgically. Physical therapy is essential to restore knee range of motion, strengthen the surrounding muscles, improve balance and coordination, and gradually return to normal activities and sports.