The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of several major ligaments in the knee. It connects the femur (thighbone) to the tibia (shinbone). The ACL’s job is to stabilize the joint, preventing the knee from rotating or stretching far past its healthy range. Sudden or extreme overextension can rip the fibers, however, resulting in a full or partial tear.
If you suspect that you have torn your ACL, visit IGEA Brain, Spine & Orthopedics immediately for a proper diagnosis and to begin immediate treatment. Through our conveniently located, state-of-the-art facilities in New Jersey and New York, we serve patients from across the tri-state area of NJ, NY, and Connecticut with specialized orthopedic surgery and other treatment options.
Symptoms of Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tears
ACL tears most commonly occur during a sports activity, especially one that involves sudden changes of direction, stopping, or pivoting. During an ACL tear, patients typically experience a popping sensation and the following symptoms:
- Severe pain, swelling, and tenderness
- Decreased range of motion
- Feelings of instability or giving way
- Pain that worsens while walking
The injury is most common in young, active people, especially those who participate in athletic activities without the proper gear or conditioning. It’s also four to six times more common in women and 15% more prevalent in those with previous ACL injuries.
Preparing for Treatment
The first approach to an ACL injury is the R.I.C.E. method. This acronym refers to four steps that can reduce pain and swelling, they include:
- Rest: Keep weight off the leg.
- Ice: Apply ice or a cold pack in 20-minute sessions every two hours.
- Compress: Wrap an elastic bandage snugly around the joint.
- Elevate: Prop up your leg to encourage circulation.
After applying the R.I.C.E. method, the specialists at IGEA Brain, Spine & Orthopedics will work with you to choose a treatment plan. Most ACL tears require medical attention to restore your full range of movement while avoiding long-term consequences. If surgery is needed, our orthopedic surgeon is qualified to perform a range of advanced surgical procedures, treating sports injuries, ligament tears, and more.
Our ACL Treatment Options
At IGEA Brain, Spine & Orthopedics, we’re aware that all patients have different needs. Depending on your lifestyle and the severity of your condition, we can recommend one of two different rehabilitation options:
Physical therapy and training can encourage injured joints to heal naturally. Exercises help restore range of motion, strengthen muscles, and retrain your body to avoid future injury. You may need a temporary brace for added stability, and anti-inflammatory medications may be recommended to ease discomfort as you recover.
Active individuals and patients with severe stability loss will likely have to undergo surgery. We offer several reconstruction options, including:
- Hamstring autograft: Tissue is taken from the hamstring tendon and replaces the ACL.
- Patellar tendon graft: Tissue is taken from the patellar tendon and replaces the ACL.
- Allograft: Tissue is grafted from a cadaver and replaces the ACL.
Surgery is followed by rehabilitation therapy. Patients can return to normal activities within a few months, while athletes can return to sports in six to 12 months based on the surgeon’s advice.
Recover from ACL Tears with IGEA Brain, Spine & Orthopedics
If you have recently injured your knee or torn your ACL, Brain, Spine & Orthopedics can help. We are an award-winning orthopedic facility serving the tri-state area at our several NJ- and NY-based practices. We can also offer a full continuum of care with in-house experts specializing in brain, spine, neurological, and other conditions. Learn more or schedule an appointment by contacting us today.