An anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear is an injury in one of the major ligaments of your knee, often accompanied by intense pain, a decreased range of motion or inability to participate in a physical activity, and a lack of stability in the knee.
ACL tears are either partial or complete. You may be able to recover from a partial tear without medical intervention, though you may still experience instability in your knee. A patient with a complete tear who wishes to continue participating in athletic activities or faces difficulty in everyday actions such as walking will typically require surgery.
ACL tears are common for people who participate in high-impact sports because these types of activities often involve sudden stopping or changing direction. A tear can also be caused by pivoting while your foot is planted in place, landing awkwardly from a jump, or colliding with a person or object.
If you’re a candidate for surgery, ACL reconstruction may help you prevent future damage, both to your ACL and other parts of your knee. Many ACL tears occur in combination with meniscus injuries and other forms of ligament damage, most of which are also fairly common for competitive athletes. An ACL injury that continues to cause instability over an extended period of time can also lead to more severe damage.
Surgical reconstruction is often recommended for patients with ongoing instability issues or who depend on the physical capability of their knee for athletic or occupational activities. It’s less ideal for children and adolescents with an ACL tear, since surgery can potentially cause growth plate injury and interfere with bone growth.
Don’t let a torn ACL keep you away from work or sports. Schedule a consultation with one of our doctors now.