The ACL i.e. Anterior Cruciate Ligament, is one of four major knee ligaments that provides stability to the knee. Most of the people who have injured their ACL often complain that they feel like their knee is “giving out”. Therefore, many patients who sustain an ACL tear tend to have surgical treatment for this injury.
How does an ACL tear occur?
An ACL tear is most oftenly related to sports injury. It can occur during mover vehicle collisions, falls, and injuries during playing sports like football, basketball etc. Most often ACL tears occur during pivoting or landing from a jump. The knee gives-out from under the athlete when the ACL is torn.
Signs and symptoms
An ACL tear most often caused during sports or athletic events. About 80% of ACL tears occur without contact with another athlete. Here are some of the common signs and symptoms of an ACL tear:
Hearing a “Pop”:
People who suffer an ACL tear usually report hearing a “pop” sound when the walk at the time of the injury. Even if you don’t hear the pop, usually people will feel the sudden shift in the injured joint.
Instability/ Knee Giving Out:
As mentioned above ACL is very critically important for the stability of the knee joint, and when an ACL tear occurs, the joint usually becomes unstable. This means that the knee joint has a tendency to give out. Instability usually occurs with cutting or pivoting movements common in many sports. However, in some patients with an ACL tear, instability can even occur during simple movements while walking or getting into a car.
Swelling and Pain:
Swelling is almost common in all patients with an ACL tear. This swelling is usually quite large and occurs rapidly within a few minutes in case of the injury. The swelling that occurs with a torn ACL is actually a hemarthrosis, It means the knee joint is filled with blood. The ACL having a blood vessel within the ligament, if that is torn at the time of injury it causes the knee to fill with blood.
Pain associated with an ACL tear is pretty common, although can vary depending on associated damage in and around the knee joint. Much of the pain of an ACL tear is due to the swelling of the joint.
Surgery for an ACL Tear
The usual surgery for an ACL tear is called an ACL reconstruction. A repair of the ligament is rarely a possibility, and thus the ligament is reconstructed using another tendon or ligament to substitute for the torn ligament with the help of specific knee arthroscopy instruments.