Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injury & Reconstruction

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the most commonly injured ligaments of the knee. An ACL injury is the tearing of the ACL ligament In general, the incidence of ACL injury is higher in people who participate in high-risk sports, such as basketball, football, skiing, and soccer.
Immediately after  the injury patients usually experience pain and swelling and the knee feels unstable. Within a few hours after a new ACL injury, patients often have a large amount of knee swelling, a loss of full range of motion, pain or tenderness along the joint line and discomfort while walking.Your knee may swell, feel unstable and become too painful to bear weight.


Depending upon the severity of your ACL injury the Orthopaedist will suggest your treatment.

Non Surgical Treatment

Treatment for an ACL injury begins progressive physical therapy and rehabilitation to restore the knee to a condition close to its pre-injury state
A physical therapist will teach you how to do exercises that you will perform either with continued supervision or at home. You may also wear a brace to stabilize your knee and use crutches for a while to avoid putting weight on your knee.
The main goal of the physical therapy & rehabilitation  is to reduce pain and swelling, restore your knees full range of motion, and strengthen muscles. This course of physical therapy may successfully treat an ACL injury for individuals who are relatively inactive, engage in moderate exercise and recreational activities, or play sports that put less stress on the knees.

ACL Reconstruction Surgery

ACL reconstruction is surgery to reconstruct the ligament in the center of your knee. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) keeps your shin bone (tibia) in place. A tear of this ligament can cause your knee to give way during physical activity.
Your Surgeon May Recommend Surgery Only If:

  • You’re a sportsman and wish  to continue in your sport
  • More than one ligament or the cartilage in your knee is injured
  • The injury is causing your knee to buckle during everyday activities
  • Knee that gives way or feels unstable during daily activities
  • Inability to continue playing sports or other activities
  • When other ligaments are also injured
  • When your meniscus is torn

During ACL reconstruction, the surgeon removes the damaged ligament and replaces it with a segment of tendon – tissue similar to a ligament that connects muscle to bone.
The tissue to replace your damaged ACL will come from your own body or from a donor. A donor is a person who has died and chose to give all or part of his or her body to help others.

  • Tissue taken from your own body is called an autograft. The two most common places to take tissue from are the kneecap tendon or the hamstring tendon. Your hamstring is the muscle behind your knee.
  • Tissue taken from a donor is called an allograft.

The procedure is usually performed with the help of knee Arthroscopy. With arthroscopy, a tiny camera is inserted into the knee through a small surgical cut. The camera is connected to a video monitor in the operating room. Your surgeon will use the camera to check the ligaments and other tissues of your knee.

Preoperative Period Of ACL Reconstruction Surgery – What Should You Expect?

Always let your Doctors know what drugs you are taking, even drugs, supplements, or herbs you bought without a prescription.

During the 2 weeks before your surgery:

  • You may be asked to stop taking drugs that make it harder for your blood to clot.
  • Ask your provider which drugs you should still take on the day of your surgery.
  • If you have diabetes, heart disease, or other medical conditions, your surgeon will ask you to see the provider who treats you for these conditions.
  • Inform your Doctor if you have been drinking a lot of alcohol, more than 1 or 2 drinks a day.
  • If you smoke, try to stop. Smoking can slow down wound and bone healing.
  • Always let your doctor’s know about any cold, flu, fever, herpes breakout, or other illnesses you may have before your surgery.

Postoperative Period Of ACL Reconstruction Surgery – What Should You Expect?

  • Most people can go home the day of your surgery. You may have to wear a knee brace for the first 1 to 4 weeks.
  • You also may need crutches for 1 to 4 weeks.
  • Most people are allowed to move their knee right after surgery. This may help prevent stiffness. You may need medicine for your pain.
  • Physical therapy can help many people regain motion and strength in their knee. Therapy can last 4 to 6 months.

Successful ACL reconstruction paired with rigorous rehabilitation can restore the stability and function to your knee. Within the first few weeks after surgery, you should strive to regain knee range of motion equal to that of your opposite side.

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