Knee injuries can sideline you from your favorite activities for weeks, months, or even years. If you’ve recently suffered an ACL tear, you won’t be able to put weight on your knee. Also, you will likely need crutches to get around. Early diagnosis and treatment are critical to a full recovery.
What Is an ACL Tear?
The ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament, is a band of tissue connecting your thighbone to your shinbone. It stabilizes your knee and helps it move smoothly.
An ACL tear is a common knee injury that can happen when you stop suddenly or change direction. Examples of such activities are basketball, volleyball, or football.
When Should You See a Specialist When You Get an ACL Tear?
If you’ve suffered an ACL tear, you must see a specialist as soon as possible. An orthopedic surgeon can properly diagnose your injury and recommend the best treatment.
You should also see a specialist if:
- You have severe pain or swelling in your knee
- You can’t put weight on your knee or bear weight for more than a few steps
- You heard a popping noise when the injury occurred
- Your knee feels unstable or “gives out”
ACL tears don’t heal without intervention, so you’ll likely need treatment. If you delay getting medical assistance, you may be at risk for further damage to your knee.
If your ACL tear worsens, you may experience the following:
- Decreased range of motion in your knee
- Joint stiffness
- Weakness or instability in your knee
- Persistent pain
You may also be at risk of developing arthritis in your knee.
What Are the Treatment Options for an ACL Tear?
Treatment for an ACL tear usually involves surgery to repair the ligament. An orthopedic surgeon will use stitches or a graft to repair the damage.
There are different types of ACL repair surgery, and the best option for you will depend on several factors. These include the following:
- The severity of your injury
- The sport you play
- Your age and activity level
- Your overall health
These procedures are:
This minimally invasive procedure helps repair damaged tissue. The surgeon will make small incisions in your knee and insert a tiny camera.
This lets them see the damage, allowing them to repair it without making a large incision.
Sometimes open ACL surgery is the best option for patients in need of ACL reconstruction. Your surgeon will replace the damaged ACL with a healthy tendon from another part of your body (autograft) or from a donor (allograft).
Recovery time for ACL surgery varies, but you can expect to be on crutches for 4 to 8 weeks. You’ll likely need physical therapy to regain your knee range of motion and strength.
Full recovery from an ACL tear can take several months. You can expect to return to your previous activity level with proper treatment and rehabilitation.
Your healthcare provider may also recommend the following:
- Medications – pain medication will help relieve discomfort
- Bracing – braces help stabilize your joint and protect it from further injury
- Injections – corticosteroid injections can help reduce inflammation and pain
- Supportive devices – crutches or a cane can help you get around without putting weight on your knee
- Weight reduction – losing weight can help reduce the stress on your knee
To prevent further injury to your ACL, you may need to change how you play sports or work out. Your doctor can give you specific instructions on modifying your activity level.
You can also help prevent ACL tears by:
- Warming up before participating in any activity
- Stretching your hamstrings and quadriceps
- Strengthening your leg muscles
- Improving your balance
- Wearing appropriate shoes for the activity you’re participating in
- Using proper technique when playing sports or performing other activities
Treatment for an ACL Tear in Little Rock, AR
When you suffer from an ACL tear, you must seek professional medical attention as soon as possible. An orthopedic surgeon can accurately diagnose your injury and recommend the best course of treatment.
Do you need effective and compassionate treatment for your ACL tear in Little Rock, AR? You can trust Bowen Hefley Orthopedics. Dr. William Hefley is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon excited to provide you with the best patient-centered care. You may call our helpful staff at (800) 336-2412 to learn how we can help you. You may also submit an online request form to schedule a visit with the best orthopedic surgeon near you.
We look forward to serving you!