ACL Injury: Does It Require Surgery?
ACL injuries are often associated with sports like football, basketball and soccer, when the following movements may occur:
- Getting hit hard on the side of your knee
- Stopping suddenly and changing direction
- Overextending the knee joint
Treatment for ACL injuries are determined on an individual basis based on the patient’s age, activity level, how unstable the knee is, and whether other structures in the knee have also been injured.
Age. For the young and active population, ACL surgery is often recommended to restore range of motion, to reduce the risk of subsequent injury, and to reduce progression of degenerative changes. However, surgical treatment is recommended for any patient who wishes to return to pre-injury activity levels regardless of age. If quality of life is not impacted by the ACL tear, surgery is not recommended.
Activity Level. If your normal activities will be impacted by your ACL tear, surgery is recommended. For example, if you are an athlete anxious to get back in the game, surgery is often advised. If your knee instability can be controlled with a brace and pain is controlled by avoiding certain activities, then surgery may not be necessary.
Other Structures. It is common to find ACL tears combined with damage to the meniscus, articular cartilage, and/or collateral ligaments. In cases of these combined injuries, surgery is recommended.
Should you choose the conservative treatment by going without surgery, you must still follow a physical therapy regimen. Through ACL physical therapy, you will strengthen your leg muscles and learn to better control your knee to avoid those motions that cause your knee to give out.
ACL Surgery & Arctic Ease
While you recover from your ACL injury, wrap your knee in Arctic Ease. The wraps are reusable, so after wearing it for up to three hours, roll it back up and place it back in the container. Add an ice cube and allow the wrap to rehydrate for two to three hours or pop the container in the fridge for enhanced cooling.
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