Mr Shibu Krishnan, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at BMI The Chiltern Hospital, talks about the ACL injury and the recovery.
What is the injury?
Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tear is one of the common knee injuries among people who engage in pivoting sports such as football, tennis, badminton etc. This ligament runs diagonally in the middle of the knee. Its function is to prevent the shin bone (tibia) sliding out in front of the thigh bone (femur) and provides rotational stability to the knee.
What are the symptoms?
Most common symptom is a sudden “pop” felt inside your knee following a twisting injury. You will experience significant pain and swelling in the knee immediately after this episode.
If ignored, the pain and swelling will settle down over time. However, you will feel the knee as unstable especially if you return to sports.
What diagnostics are required?
The diagnosis is often made at the time of your consultation based on your description of symptoms as well as a detailed clinical examination of your knee. An MRI scan of your knee would then confirm the diagnosis.
What treatment is required?
Treatment varies based on the patient’s individual needs. E.g. most young, active patients with unstable knees would require a key hole (arthroscopic) surgery to reconstruct the ligament. This will enable them to return safely to sports. Less active individuals, especially older patients, with ACL injuries could be managed with just physiotherapy exercises, especially if they choose not to return to sports.
What are the benefits, risks, side effects?
ACL surgery will improve the stability of your knee and protects it from further injuries to your knee such as cartilage (meniscal) injuries.
The risks of ACL surgery, like most key hole surgeries, include bleeding, infection, stiffness of the knee, persisting knee weakness, knee pain, re-rupture of the graft, nerve injury, clots in deep veins etc.
How long will it take to recover?
Following the key hole (arthroscopic) surgery to reconstruct your ACL, you will be able to go home on the same day or the following morning. You will be able to walk, putting full weight through your leg and using a pair of elbow crutches on the same day of our operation. You can start running in a straight line beyond 6 months from your surgery and return to sports beyond 8 months to 1 year from the surgery.
At BMI The Chiltern Hospital we offer a wide range of services including cancer care, orthopaedics, imaging or physiotherapy. To find out more or book an appointment, call us on 01494 890890 or make an online enquiry.
28th June 2017