Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) : Causes, Symptoms & Treatment
Anterior Cruciate Ligament
The anterior cruciate ligament is a band of dense connectivity tissue that holds the bones together within the knee. The ACL is located in the middle of the knee and prevents the shin bone from sliding out in front of the thigh bone. In other words, it helps to keep the knee stable.
Over-stretching or tearing of the anterior cruciate ligament in the knee is known as anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. A tear may be partial or complete. After an ACL injury, many people hear a cracking sound or feel a popping sensation in the knee. The knee may swell, feel unstable and become too painful to bear weight.
Causes of Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury
An ACL injury can occur when:
- Overextends their knee joint
- They plant their foot and change direction around it, which is known as pivoting or cutting.
- The knee is hit hard while tackling a football.
- Stops quickly while moving or changes direction while running, landing from a jump, or turning.
According to statistics, women are more likely to sustain ACL injuries than men. Common sports linked to ACL tears are basketball, football, soccer, and skiing.
Symptoms of Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury Early
Feeling of instability
- A “popping” sound at the time of injury
- Knee swelling within 6 hours of injury
- Pain especially when you try to put weight on the injured leg
- Difficulty in continuing with your sport
- Pain: If you have a minor injury, you may not feel pain. You may feel sore along your knee’s joint line. Some people have trouble standing or putting pressure on the hurt leg.
- Swelling: This is most likely to happen during the first 24 hours. The swelling can be reduced by placing ice on the knee or elevating your leg by propping it up on a pillow.
- Limited movement: After you damage your ACL, you won’t be able to bend and flex your knee like you normally would.
- Trouble walking: While putting pressure on your hurt leg, you may notice that it’s difficult to walk.
- Some people find that the knee joint feels looser than it should.
How Is It Diagnosed?
Our leading doctors at Yashoda Hospital & Research Centre, Nehru Nagar, Ghaziabad, will want to hear exactly how the injury occurred in your knee. They will look at both knees to see if the sore one looks different. They may also order any of the following:
- Tests: Our doctor may ask you to lie on your back and bend your hips and your knees at certain angles. They will then place their hands on different parts of your leg and gently shift you around. If any of your bones move in a way that isn’t normal, that would be a warning sign that your ACL is damaged.
- X-ray: Soft tissues like the ACL don’t appear on X-rays, but your doctor may want to rule out broken bones.
- MRI or ultrasound: These exams can show both soft tissues and bones. If you have a damaged ACL, it should appear on the images.
- Arthroscopy: During the test, an orthopaedic surgeon will make a small cut in your skin. A pencil-sized tool is then inserted, which contains a lighting system and lens (arthroscope) into the joint.
The camera projects an image of the joint onto a TV screen. This will help the doctor to see what type of injury you have and repair or correct it if needed.
Treatment for Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injury
It depends on how badly you’ve been hurt. Here are some of the options our pre-eminent doctors may give you:
- First aid: If your injury is minor, you may only need to put ice on your knee and stay off your feet for a while. You can reduce swelling by wrapping an ace bandage around your knee. Crutches can help to keep weight off your knee.
- Medications: Anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen) can help to reduce swelling and pain. Our doctor may suggest over-the-counter medications or prescribe something stronger. For intense pain, our doctors at Yashoda may inject your knee with steroid medication.
- Physical therapy: You may need this for a couple of days to get your knee back in working condition. During your sessions, you’ll do exercises to strengthen the muscles around your knee and help you regain a full range of motion. You may be sent home with exercises to do on your own.
- Knee brace: Using a knee brace grants extra support for some people with a damaged ACL while running or playing sports.
- Surgery: If your ACL is damaged, doctors may tell you that you need surgery. Also, if your knee gives way while you walk, surgery is required to treat the issue.
For a speedy and complete recovery, physical therapy is a suitable option. People who have surgery can often play sports again within 12 months with physiotherapy.
If you are looking for experts to treat your ACL injury book an appointment visit the specialists at Yashoda Hospital & Research Centre, Nehru Nagar, Ghaziabad
Dr. Vipin Tyagi (Director/HOD Orthopaedic Trauma and Joint Replacement)
Dr Vipin Tyagi is one of the foremost orthopaedic doctors in India. He is an alumnus of the famous King George’s Medical College, Lucknow, where he completed his MBBS and MS in orthopaedics in the year 1983.
He has performed over 20,000 surgeries, including complicated fractures, spine surgeries, and hip and knee replacements. His specialisation is in complex and complicated fractures, spine surgery, and hip & knee replacements.
He has received multiple prestigious international fellowships in joint replacement and trauma from the USA, Germany, and Switzerland.
Dr Ajay Panwar (Senior Consultant, Orthopaedics)
Dr Ajay Panwar is the senior consultant and one of the most experienced surgeons at Yashoda Hospital & Research Centre. He has medical experience of over 30 years and holds fellowships in joint replacement and spine surgery. He specialises in orthopaedic trauma, hip and knee arthroplasty, arthroscopy, and sports injuries.
He is an expert at performing regular hip and knee replacements as well as revision surgeries with excellent results.
Dr Rahul Kakran (Senior Consultant, Orthopaedics)
Dr Rahul Kakran has more than 11 years of post-qualification experience treating fractures and dislocated joints. He has also performed primary joint replacement surgeries independently and assisted in over 500 revision surgeries.
His specialisation includes arthroscopic anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction, paediatric orthopaedic surgery, and arthroscopy of the shoulder, hip, ankle, and knee.
His articles on spinal trauma and work on listhesis correction surgery have been published in various health magazines and newspapers.