The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the main stabilizers of the knee. Its function is to keep the joint in place, avoiding forward movement.
Rupture of this ligament is one of the most frequent knee injuries and, as it does not heal on its own, it often needs to be repaired.
Why is this injury so frequent in young patients?
The vast majority of ruptures occur in young patients because 75% of ligament injuries are due to sports, while only the remaining 25% are due to trauma. These sports injuries originate from poor mechanics, inadequate knee rotation.
How to find out that I have a ligament injury?
The description of all the patients who had an anterior cruciate ligament tear is similar. When they are playing a sport, playing soccer, running or walking, they feel that the knee “goes away” and, immediately afterwards, they experience very intense pain.
Other common signs that may indicate a ligament rupture are the noise heard in the knee and swelling in the area, caused by the joint effusion.
Finally, another common symptom in the following days is that the patient has functional limitations, that is, he/she may not be able to support the foot without pain or completely bend the knee.
How is it diagnosed?
The diagnosis is made up of three essential aspects.
1. The first is the clinical one, which is obtained after listening to the patient’s narration about the sensations and the way the injury occurred.
2. Then comes the physical examination, which is the revision of the knee, which seeks to detect if there is instability and if the function of the ligament is preserved.
3. Finally, imaging studies such as X-rays or MRIs are also carried out to rule out bone lesions.
For the treatment of anterior cruciate ligament rupture there are two initial options, to operate or not.
Since most of the patients are active young people and athletes, surgical treatment is usually chosen to avoid more serious injuries. These are generated because other joints begin to fulfil the ligamentary function without being prepared for it.
In the surgery, the ligament is replaced by a tendon, patellar or hamstring. In both cases, it is done arthroscopically.
You might also want to read: Knee arthroscopy
At Harley Street Hospital, we have some of the best specialists to diagnose and treat ACL injury. Book an appointment to get a checkup.