ACL knee injuries are a common occurrence among athletes. There are four major ligaments in the knee joint that stabilize the knee. These ligaments include the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), medial collateral ligament (MCL), and posterior lateral complex (PLC). The ACL is located in the front of the knee and its purpose is to prevent the bone in the leg from moving forward relative to the bone of the thigh. It also provides the stability that is needed to complete certain twisting or rotational movements.
The ACL is located in the front of the knee and can be injured during athletics, as well as everyday falls and missteps. When the ACL is injured, some patients will hear a popping sound and will experience pain and swelling of the knee; this occurs as blood and fluid collect inside the knee joint. Due to the limited blood supply of the ACL, most ACL injuries do not heal on their own. Depending on the patient’s lifestyle, activity level, age, and athletic goals, some patients can be treated with rehabilitation alone. This is recommended for patients with a lower activity level.
In younger, active patients surgery may be recommended to help patients get back to their level of pre-injury activity. Dr. Anz performs ACL reconstruction surgery using an arthroscopic approach to reconstruct the damaged ACL. During arthroscopic knee surgery, Dr. Anz uses small incisions on the knee to insert a camera, as well as surgical tools to evaluate the ligament and other structures inside the knee. The torn ligament is reconstructed and secured, typically with interference screws. In most cases, Dr. Anz will need to use a graft to reconstruct the ligament. Grafts can be harvested from the patient (a portion of the patellar tendon or hamstring tendon) or can be acquired from a donor (cadaver). Each case is unique, and decisions are individualized, based upon a given patient’s activity level, goals, and history.
Following ACL reconstruction surgery, Dr. Anz will construct a thorough rehabilitation program that should be fulfilled in its entirety. After surgery patients are fitted with a brace and use crutches until their quadriceps muscle returns in strength. Therapy and the use of functional braces will be individualized to the exact injury and patient’s needs.
Dr. Adam Anz is an orthopedic knee surgeon in Gulf Breeze, FL. For additional information on ACL knee injuries or to schedule a consultation to discuss ACL reconstruction surgery, please call our Pensacola, FL office today.