The anterior cruciate ligament, more commonly known as the ACL, is a ligament in the knee that helps to stabilize the joint and allows for twisting and jumping motions to be performed. As you may already know, ACL tears are one of the most common sports injuries. A torn ACL can result in pain and swelling, difficulty walking, and a popping sensation in the knee. So, how do you repair a torn ACL?
How Do You Repair a Torn ACL?
In cases where the ACL is the only injured structure, the knee may be able to regain full motion after six to eight weeks of icing and using crutches and a knee brace. Nonsurgical treatment of ACL injuries is not usually recommended for young, active individuals, especially those who play sports. For such patients, surgery is usually the best option to reduce the risk of reinjury and more serious knee problems such as arthritis.
When surgery is needed to reconstruct a torn ACL, it is generally advisable to wait until the pain and swelling have receded to undergo the procedure. This allows enough time for the initial inflammatory phase of the injury to resolve. It also increases the chances that the patient will be able to regain full motion in the knee. Still, there are certain scenarios in which an orthopedic surgeon may recommend that ACL reconstruction surgery be conducted immediately after the injury, such as if the knee is dislocated. Ultimately, the best course of treatment will depend on the patient’s unique injury.
ACL Repair Recovery Time
Wondering “how do you repair a torn ACL?” Think you may be a candidate for ACL reconstruction surgery? While it’s impossible to predict exactly how quickly you’ll recover afterwards, it’s helpful to have some guidelines for what to expect:
— During the first two weeks after ACL reconstruction surgery, your main priorities will be to rest, use crutches and a long brace for partial weight-bearing, and keep your knee bandages clean and dry. You’ll be given medication and pain management tips to reduce your discomfort.
— Your physical therapy will begin within a few days of surgery. It will help you get back to using your knee as you did prior to your ACL injury. Depending on your lifestyle, you may choose a basic program or one designed for athletes. Either way, you can expect to be in the program for anywhere between two and six months.
— After approximately three weeks, you will be able to discontinue your crutches and long brace. You will be switched to a short functional brace to help stabilize your joint.
What is your risk of reinjury after ACL reconstruction? The answer will depend largely on your age and level of physical activity. Teenagers and those under the age of 25 have a higher risk of reinjury due to their high level of sports participation. Older, less active individuals have a much lower risk of reinjury. Speak with an experienced orthopedic surgeon to find out what to expect.
Choose Dr. Soffer for Expert ACL Injury Care
So, how do you repair a torn ACL? As a seasoned sports medicine physician, Dr. Stephen R. Soffer can assist you in overcoming your ACL injury. When you come to him, he will offer you the most advanced treatment options and recommend the most appropriate one for you. Furthermore, he’ll be happy to answer your questions about ACL reconstruction recovery time, how long ACL reconstruction lasts, and anything else you would like to know.
If you’re interested in scheduling an appointment, give us a call at 610-375-4949. And for useful information on labrum repair surgery, visit our recent blog post. We look forward to helping you get back to doing what you love.