- Severe pain
- Inflammation or swelling at the site of injury within 24hours
- Sudden jolt or popping sound at the time of injury
- Soreness at the injury site
- Discomfort or inability to walk with ease
One of the main ligaments that connects two bones i.e. tibia and femur of the knee is the Anterior Cruciate Ligament. This ligament provides antero-posterior and rotational stability to the knee. Any tear or rupture to this ligament causes knee instability.
Most common occurrences that cause ACL injury is during sports like football, skiing, rugby, basketball. An improper landing from a jump, a sudden jolt while running could cause injury to this ligament. Often, a sudden snap is observed when there is an injury to the ACL. Furthermore this injury leads to inflammation and severe pain.
The physical examination of the knee is the first step towards diagnosing the injury of the ligament. However, to understand the extent of injury thoroughly, your orthopaedic surgeon may ask you to get an X-ray and MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging). These investigations help in confirming the diagnosis and show whether the tear in ligament is partial or complete.
Based on the severity of the injury, your surgeon may suggest both operative and non-operative treatment options.
The deciding factor for operative treatment depends on the type of tear- whether it is partial or full. ACL reconstruction is carried out through minimally-invasive arthroscopic surgery. ACL reconstruction is done through small incisions- one of them is to hold the arthroscope (thin,tube-like camera), and the others to allow instruments that provide access to the joint space.
Typically, Spinal anaesthesia is given during ACL reconstruction. During the surgery, your surgeon will remove the damaged ligament and replace it with a graft that is taken from another part of your knee. The graft is accurately positioned by drilling sockets or tunnels into your thigh bone. This is further secured into your bones with screws and other fixation devices. The graft placed acts as scaffolding which allows new ligament to grow.
Post surgery, your doctor will provide specific instructions on how to manage pain and swelling. It is also important to keep the leg in elevated position and rest as much as possible.