Anterior cruciate ligament rupture is usually diagnosed by physical exam and imaging tests. The doctor will listen to the patient’s history, examine the knee, and may order imaging tests, such as an MRI or X-ray, if necessary. These tests help assess how badly the anterior cruciate ligament is damaged and its impact on other structures.
What is an anterior cruciate ligament rupture?
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is an important connective tissue in the knee joint that provides stability to the knee. In some cases, however, a rupture or injury of the ACL can occur. A torn anterior cruciate ligament is a condition that often occurs during sports injuries and is often associated with high-impact sports such as soccer, basketball, and skiing.
A rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament usually occurs as a result of excessive stress on the knee. This can happen due to sudden changes in posture, twisting movements, improper knee pressure, or an impact. This injury, which is especially common in athletes, can cause a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament under heavy loads.
A rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament can lead to various symptoms. Severe pain may be felt at the time of injury and swelling and bruising may occur in the knee. The knee may be difficult to move and there may be a loss of stability. Some patients report a snapping sound or sensation. If the anterior cruciate ligament is completely torn, involuntary jerks can occur in the leg.
Treatment of an anterior cruciate ligament rupture usually requires surgery. This procedure can be performed by repairing or replacing the torn connective tissue with another tissue (usually a tendon). The rehabilitation period after surgery is very important and usually includes physical therapy and exercise programs. This process includes strengthening the knee, restoring range of motion, and returning to sports.
What causes an anterior cruciate ligament tear?
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is a connective tissue located in the knee joint and provides stability to the knee. In some cases, however, an anterior cruciate ligament tear can occur. A rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament usually occurs during sports activities and can have several causes.
The most common cause of a torn anterior cruciate ligament is a sports injury. Anterior cruciate ligament rupture can occur as a result of sudden changes in posture, rotational movements, or improper knee compression, especially in high-impact sports such as soccer, basketball, and skiing. For example, in soccer players, hitting another player or the ground hard can cause an ACL tear.
Excessive stress on the knee can also cause anterior cruciate ligament rupture. Connective tissue can tear as a result of twisting movements in the knee or incorrectly pressing the ground. For example, a sudden rotation of the knee while skiing or excessive stress on the knee due to a fall while snowboarding can cause an ACL rupture.
Anterior cruciate ligament rupture can occur as a result of a severe blow to the knee or a sudden bend, strain, or sprain of the knee in an accident. For example, trauma to the knee from traffic accidents or falls can lead to anterior cruciate ligament rupture.
Previous knee injuries or previous cruciate ligament injuries can weaken the connective tissue and increase the risk of tearing again. Therefore, people who have had an ACL rupture in the past may be at a higher risk of rupturing again.
Some anatomical factors can also influence the risk of ACL rupture. For example, a naturally wider knee angle (valgus deformity) or a greater angle between the kneecap and thigh (Q angle) can increase the risk of anterior cruciate ligament rupture.
What are the symptoms of an anterior cruciate ligament rupture?
Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) rupture is the complete or partial rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament, an important connective tissue of the knee. ACL rupture usually occurs during sports injuries and can manifest with many symptoms. Here are the signs of an anterior cruciate ligament rupture:
Severe pain is usually felt during an anterior cruciate ligament rupture. The pain may intensify at the time of injury or immediately after injury and increase with movement. Pain may worsen, especially during weight-bearing or bending movements on the knee.
Knee swelling and bruising
Swelling and bruising can occur in the knee after ACL rupture. Due to the damage to the blood vessels in the area of injury, blood pooling of the tissues occurs and the resulting swelling and bruising. Swelling and bruising usually become apparent immediately after an injury.
The rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament affects the stability of the knee and can limit movement. Because of the pain and swelling in the knee, it can be difficult to move the knee. There may be a limitation in the movement of the knee, especially when the knee is fully extended or bent.
In some cases, a dry, clicking sound called crepitation may be heard in the knee after the anterior cruciate ligament rupture. These sounds mean that the torn connective tissue is moving or rubbing with other tissue at the site of the injury.
The anterior cruciate ligament provides stability to the knee. A rupture can cause a feeling of instability in the knee. The knee does not feel secure, especially when walking or exercising, and some patients may say that “my knee is slipping” or “I feel like my knee is going to come off.”
How is an anterior cruciate ligament rupture diagnosed?
Trauma history is very important with torn anterior cruciate ligaments. A diagnosis of torn anterior cruciate ligament can be made even with just this history. In addition to the trauma history, another important component is the physical examination. Physical examination can be difficult to perform in acute anterior cruciate ligament injuries due to pain and swelling. In such cases, a definitive diagnosis is made by conducting a second examination within 10 days. In addition, the diagnosis is confirmed by requesting MRI and X-ray examinations.
What is the treatment for an anterior cruciate ligament rupture?
Age, activity level and occupation play a decisive role in the treatment of anterior cruciate ligament rupture. When recommending surgery to young people and people who play sports; A non-surgical treatment method can be applied to middle-aged and older people who do not lead an active lifestyle. Non-surgical treatment, physical therapy, and hinged knee braces can be used.
Non-surgical repair cannot be achieved in full thickness anterior cruciate ligament ruptures. If the patient is older, he can protect the knee in the acute period with a knee brace and crutch. When the swelling in the knee goes away, exercises are given to strengthen the knee muscles. Non-surgical treatment methods are preferred for people who are in the way of surgery, have knee calcification, and have a less active lifestyle. In such cases, rest, ice application, knee brace and anti-inflammatory medication are recommended.
If the patient is going to continue an active lifestyle, want to play sports, and if a complete rupture of the anterior cruciate ligaments has occurred, then surgery is necessary.
Surgery of the anterior cruciate ligament
In anterior cruciate ligament surgery, the damaged connective tissue is removed and replaced with another part from the patient’s knee or healthy tissue from a cadaver. Alternatively, using hangers and screws, a structure can be created that acts as a cross-tie. An operation on the anterior cruciate ligament takes an average of 1 hour.
It is important to pay close attention to knee movements after surgery, the use of knee braces, splints and crutches. Some medications can be used to relieve pain and the patient may need to rest. A physiotherapy and rehabilitation plan is then carried out. Thus, the patient shows a healthier recovery.
Heavy exercise after surgery can re-injure the anterior ligaments. Experts say that you should not return to sports life for 9 to 12 months. Sports such as swimming and cycling can be practiced professionally again, but heavily used sports such as football, basketball and volleyball cannot be practiced professionally.
What happens if the anterior cruciate ligament tears?
If the anterior cruciate ligament ruptures, movement is limited, the knee cannot be stepped on, and swelling occurs in the knee. When this situation, which causes great pain and suffering, occurs, the person throws himself on the ground. In the event of a rupture, it is necessary to consult a doctor, undergo physiotherapy and, if necessary, undergo surgery.
Can a torn anterior cruciate ligament walk?
With a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligaments, the person cannot walk for 1 week. After that, the complaints subside and the patient can walk. However, if the condition is left untreated, a slight movement can damage the ligaments again or various knee injuries can occur. This requires a doctor’s check.
Will an anterior cruciate ligament tear heal without surgery?
A tear in the anterior cruciate ligament can be repaired to some extent without surgery. Physical therapy and rehabilitation programs allow the patient to walk again. However, this applies to people who do not participate in sports and lead a sedentary lifestyle. Surgery is required for a very active life and for sports.
Is anterior cruciate ligament surgery required?
Anterior cruciate ligament surgery is not required. Depending on the age and lifestyle of the person, it can be decided whether or not to have surgery. If there is slack in the knee and the anterior ligaments are completely torn, surgery is the only way to heal. However, non-surgical treatments can also be used for mild tears and for patients who choose a sedentary lifestyle.
In how many months does an anterior cruciate ligament tear heal?
Anterior cruciate ligament tears heal in an average of 9 months. For people who exercise, it may take longer to become active again. This period varies between 8 months and 12 months. It is important to follow the physical therapy and rehabilitation plans and do the exercises that the doctor has given during the recovery process.
Will the anterior cruciate ligament heal on its own?
Anterior cruciate ligaments do not heal on their own. Many people think that the ligament heals after an injury and after the swelling in the knee has subsided. However, this is not true. The slightest movement can cause another injury. For this, it is necessary to consult a doctor if you suspect an anterior cruciate ligament injury.