(Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tears)
The anterior cruciate ligament is one of the most commonly injured ligaments in the knee. Following an ACL tear, patients usually have pain and swelling in the knee. Diagnostic tests and a MRI are often used to confirm an ACL tear. Once the ACL tear is confirmed, the physician will decide if the patient needs surgery to repair the torn ligament. There are several ways to surgically repair an ACL rupture, all of which require a graft to repair and reconnect the ACL to the femur and tibia. The graft can be harvested from the patient’s own body during the surgery or come from a cadaver. Holes are drilled in the femur and tibia where the ACL originally connected to the bone. The new graft ligament is then pulled through the holes and attached with screws. Rehabilitation is an important part of ACL recovery. Many surgeons start their ACL repair patients in rehab the day after surgery. The first few weeks of therapy consist of guarded weight bearing exercises so the new ligament does not come loose from the screws. As the patient continues to heal and the knee becomes stronger, more difficult exercises are introduced. A patient will remain in physical therapy for 10-12 weeks following an ACL reconstruction.