What Is The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL)?.

Anterior Cruciate LigamentLigaments are dense fibrous tissue that connect bones to each other to form joints. “Cruciate” means shaped like a cross. One of the four principal cruciate ligaments found in the human knee is called the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (abbreviated as ACL). Anatomically, the ACL begins from inside the distal femur’s notch. The ACL’s proximal fibers stretch out along the lateral femoral condyle’s medial wall. The anterior cruciate ligament divides into two bundles, the posterolateral and the anteromedial, which are named in accordance with the point at which the bundles enter the tibial plateau. In order to defy anterior translation and resist the tibia’s medial rotation relative to the femur, the ACL is precisely attached in front of the tibia’s intercondyloid eminence and blends with the medial meniscus’ anterior horn.

Common knee injuries often referred to as the “terrible triad” involve the tearing of an ACL. The terrible triad injury is a simultaneous tearing of medial meniscus, Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) and the ACL. ACL Tears are usually among the most frequent knee injuries. For instance, the United States alone records more than 100,000 ACL tears annually. Typically, ACL tears result from planting and landing in pivoting or cutting sports, without or with contact. Since the ACL is fundamental to stabilizing the knee during planting or turning, professional athletes often require knee re-construction to return to sports after suffering from a complete tear in the ligament.

After an ACL knee injury, the orthopedic specialist may recommend either operative or non-operative treatment. Non-operative therapies usually include strengthening and rehabilitating the ACL. If the knee does not regain stability, the patient does not regain ability to perform pivoting, cutting or similar activities. For an incomplete ACL tear, the doctor may recommend injections. The most critical aspect of non-operative ACL therapy is stabilization and strengthening of muscles of the knee, particularly the hamstrings. Hip and knee doctors will usually design and inspect physical therapy in order to help the patient regain ACL functioning.

An anterior cruciate ligament operation is quite complex and demands the utmost expertise and experience. The patient should select an orthopedic surgeon who has experience in sports medicine. Yet before opting for the surgery, the patient should discuss various aspects of the procedure with the doctor, including previous knee injuries, leg alignment, graft choice, level of athletic competition, other injuries previously sustained, and age.

In certain instances, Healing Response Surgery, a form of stimulation for native ligament healing that relies on the body’s natural ability to heal, may be recommended. However, the most common ACL knee surgery is graft choice surgery, in which the tissue derived from a cadaver or from the patient is used. In all cases of ACL knee surgery, rehabilitation and counseling must be incorporated into the treatment plan.

How long does it take to recover from ACL knee surgery? The average duration is 6-9 months. However, revision ACL surgeries are often fully healed after 12 months or more. For more information about anterior cruciate ligament surgery, call or visit us at St Pete Hip and Knee in Tampa, Florida.

Kurt Hirshorn MD of Tampa Hip and Knee guarantees expertise and compassion when caring for his patients, and ensures a good hospital stay. Schedule an appointment today or call us at (813) 377-4445.
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