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May 25, 2016 - TCO

All About ACL Injuries – Part 2

Nicholas Weiss MD, Orthopedic Surgeon, shares insights on ACL injuries in this 2 part series.

If you hear or feel a “pop” in your knee as you are jumping or pivoting, you may have sustained an injury to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). This is a serious injury so you’ll want to see a doctor right away.

The doctor will perform a physical exam and order X-rays to make a diagnosis.  Often an MRI will help confirm the diagnosis and rule out other injuries of the knee.

Once swelling has subsided and full range of motion of the knee is achieved, surgery can be performed to repair the ACL. Surgery involves drilling tunnels in the tibia (shin bone) and femur (thigh bone) to recreate the ACL by grafting tendon tissue taken from another area of the knee. Once placed in the bony tunnels, the graft is fixed to the bone. The two most common graft sources, the patellar tendon and hamstring tendon, have similar long-term results.

The All-Inside ACL Reconstruction is a newer technique that is less invasive than traditional methods, yet achieves equal or better strength of graft fixation to the bone. The technique also emphasizes more accurate recreation of the normal ACL anatomy. I have been using this technique for several years with excellent results.

Post-operative rehabilitation is a very important part of successful ACL reconstruction. Patients work closely with a physical therapist on exercises designed to help them return to their sport. Returning to in-line running typically occurs at three months after surgery. Unrestricted athletic participation is often allowed at six months.