Problems We Treat

Anterior Cruciate Ligament

Connecting the thigh bone to the shin bone, the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is a thick cord of collagen strands. Woven together, these collagen strands can withstand hundreds of pounds of force. The ACL is the key stabilizer in your knee. It guides your shin bone through normal, stable motions. If an ACL tear occurs, the ligament unravels like a braided rope and, generally, does not heal without assistance.

What is an ACL Tear?

Known as the most commonly injured ligament in the knee, an ACL injury occurs when the anterior cruciate ligament tears. Many who experience an ACL injury often hear or feel a popping sound in their knee. The knee then beings to swell or feel unstable.

The ACL is often injured during sports. Sports, specifically involving jumping, running, sudden stops, and changes in direction, place strain on the ACL. When participating in certain popular sports, such as basketball, football, tennis, volleyball, skiing, and gymnastics, caution should be taken to prevent an ACL tear.

Treatment for an ACL Tear

Physical therapy is a common treatment for healing a torn ACL. Once the full extent of the damage is determined, a therapy plan will be designed that reduces swelling, builds up and stabilizes the joint, and restores full range of motion. Continuously resting the knee between physical therapy treatments is also important for healing.

Requiring a custom-designed physical therapy program and ample rest, an ACL tear may also require surgery. Post-surgery physical therapy is necessary to mitigate the negative side effects of surgery. Taking steps to regain strength and stability, full recovery often takes a few months.

One of the most important components of the knee, an ACL tear can be both painful and detrimental to your life and mobility. Working closely with your doctor and physical therapist, recovery time is based on the severity of your torn ACL. Following all aspects of your treatment plan, as prescribed, is the best way to recover as quickly as possible.