Athletes who play such strenuous sports as soccer, football and basketball are used to the physical demands of competitive play. But sometimes, those demands can take a toll on the knee, leaving a player with a painful ACL injury that can sideline them for quite a while.
An ACL injury is a tear or sprain of the anterior cruciate ligament — one of the major ligaments in the knee. At the office of Nutley Orthopaedic Group, our team of orthopedists are highly skilled in the treatment of ACL injuries and offer the latest treatments and rehabilitation needed to put you back in action.
The anterior cruciate ligament can be injured in several ways: changing direction rapidly, stopping suddenly, slowing down while running, landing from a jump incorrectly, direct contact or collision (such as a football tackle). Most commonly, patients will experience a loud “pop” or “popping” sensation in the knee, severe pain, rapid swelling, loss of range of motion and a general feeling of knee discomfort and instability.
A torn ACL will not heal without surgery. But nonsurgical treatments might be an option for patients who are elderly or who have a very low activity level. If the overall stability of the knee is intact, your doctor may recommend simple, nonsurgical options, such as the use of a knee brace and/or physical therapy.
To surgically repair the ACL and restore knee stability, the ligament must be reconstructed. The orthopedic surgeon will replace the torn ligament with a tissue graft, usually taken from the patellar tendon, which runs between the kneecap and the shinbone, or a hamstring tendon from the back of the thigh. This graft acts as a scaffolding for a new ligament to grow on. Because regrowth takes time, it may be six months or more before an athlete can return to sports after surgery.
Whether or not your treatment involves surgery, rehabilitation plays a key role in getting you back to your daily activities, helping you regain knee strength and motion.
At the office of Nutley Orthopaedic Group, we’re dedicated to providing the highest quality of skilled and compassionate care. For more information on our office and the many services that we provide, give us a call today.