Just Knees deals with a high volume of soft tissue knee trauma. Soft tissue knee injuries are common and the potential of ACL damage needs assessing accurately by an experienced clinician.
The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) attaches the femur (thigh bone) to the tibia (shin bone). The ACL provides stability of the knee by controlling movement of the femur on the tibia and supplying information to the brain regarding knee position. It is usually injured by a pivoting injury under load when performing football, netball and skiing.
Patients with ACL injuries usually experience acute knee symptoms including a “pop”, instant swelling and the inability to continue the activity they were performing. The severity of these symptoms depend on the grade of the tear.
If an ACL injury is suspected it is vital a clinical assessment is performed by an experienced clinician.
An MRI scan is the gold standard to conﬁrm the diagnosis. The MRI scan is a very sensitive and speciﬁc investigation giving information regarding the grade of the tear and whether there is associated damage to other knee structures (meniscus, articular lining and other ligaments)
An ACL injury can be treated by:
- a non surgical approach using bracing and physiotherapy.
- It can also be surgically reconstructed using tissue usually taken from the patients own body (hamstring).
The treatment decision is usually made by the patient and is dependent on many factors including how frequent the knee gives way, what other injuries are associated with the ACL rupture, what is the job of the patient and what impact activity the patient want to pursue in the future.
- ACL reconstruction surgery is performed under a General Anaesthetic and usually takes 1 hour.
- The commonest graft (material to replace the ACL) is hamstring. The graft is ﬁxed in an anatomical position to take the place of the ruptured ligament.
- The surgery can be performed as a day case or may involve overnight stay depending on patient factors.
- It can take 9-12 months before patients resume their pre-ACL rupture activities.
- Throughout the post operative period regular contact with the rehabilitation team (physiotherapist) is mandatory.