Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
This is the most commonly injured intra-articular knee ligament. It runs from the central area of the femur (thigh bone) to the central area of the tibia (shin bone) within the knee itself. It angles forwards so that its main role is to limit the amount the tibia can come forwards on the thigh bone.
The ACL is usually damaged in a twisting injury. This is common in sports such as football, netball and skiing. Patients often report hearing a “Pop” in the knee and complain of pain and swelling which may worsen over the first 24 hours. The effects of the initial injury often settle over 2-4 weeks after which time patients can often return to normal day-to-day activities. However, the loss of ACL function often results in the knee giving way if twisting activities are undertaken, and this is the most common reason to seek further treatment.
Making a diagnosis...
The diagnosis is usually made with a combination of listening to the history of your injury and carefully examining the knee. If you present soon after the injury then x-rays may be requested to confirm no bone has been broken. The diagnosis is usually confirmed with an MRI scan.
Treatment is either non-operative, with physiotherapy exercises prescribed to increase the knee's ability to compensate for the lack of ACL, or operative with an ACL reconstruction. Together, we will discuss the options and find the treatment which is most likely to allow you to return to full activity. In physically active patients this often involves surgical reconstruction to protect from damage caused by repetitive episodes of the knee "giving way".