Specialist Knee and Sports Injury Surgery In Manchester

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Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury

 I injured my knee playing football last week. What symptoms might suggest a torn ACL?

The ACL is a 38mm long ligament that connects the femur (thigh bone) to the tibia (shin bone) and prevents abnormal movement between the two. It is usually injured during a twisting injury, and is often associated with an audible 'pop' when it ruptures. This is very painful and usually patients are unable to continue their activity. The knee swells within a few minutes due to the bleeding from the ruptured ends of the ACL. The medial ligament (MCL) or one of the menisci (cartilages) can also be injured at the same time, resulting in further pain.

  What initial treatment is required?

Rest, ice and elevation followed by assessment at your local Emergency Department. Initial XRays are undetaken to exclude any fractures and often crutches are supplied. Referral to a specialist knee clinic is then recommended so treatment can commence. Injured knees are often too painful to fully assess and often MRI scans are required. Once ACL rupture is confirmed, ACL Prehabilitation is commenced to strengthen the muscles around the knee and also to help regain full movement of the knee.

  Do I need to have surgery?

No - not everyone who has an ACL rupture needs an ACL reconstruction. The ACL is not required for simple activities of daily living, however it is essential for stability during twisting, side stepping and landing from a jump.