An ACL tear is a knee injury that can occur at any time, but often it happens during sports or an activity where a person is twisting, pivoting or jumping and the knee hyperextends or twists unnaturally.
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of an ACL tear
“Although ACL damage can show up in many ways, and ranges from mild to severe, patients often feel or hear a sudden pop in the knee,” said Dr. William D. Cox Jr., an orthopedic surgeon with Centegra Physician Care-McHenry County Orthopedics.
Other common symptoms include pain or swelling immediately after the injury, as well as instability, where the knee feels as if it will buckle or “give out.”
To better understand what’s happening, it’s helpful to know what the ACL is and does. The ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament, is the main stabilizing ligament of the knee, located directly in the center of the knee. Along with the PCL, or posterior cruciate ligament, it helps connect the femur to the tibia, which is the largest bone between the knee and ankle.
ACL surgery at Centegra
Sometimes, a patient may not need surgery. However, if the ligament is completely torn or the damage is severe, surgery likely will be the best option.
Dr. Cox said that while surgery at Centegra is performed on an outpatient basis, meaning no hospital stay is required and that the procedure itself typically takes just a few hours, patients need to know that the rehabilitation process can take time.
“Patients have to be able to commit to the amount of rehab required after the surgery,” Dr. Cox said. “Rehabilitation is typically two to three times per week for three to five months. Returning to normal activities is typically a six- to 12-month process.”
To make an appointment with one of CPC-MCO’s fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons, call 815-356-5200. To learn more, visit Centegra.org/MCO.