ACL Surgery – How Does It Work

If you’ve ever damaged your ACL you’ll know that it can be incredibly painful.

It’s one of the most commonly injured ligaments of the knee with approximately 200,000 injuries recorded in Adelaide each year.

Sadly the majority of these knee injuries occur from sports related activities such as basketball, football, skiing and running.

You will need a qualified knee surgeon to help you get scans and then determine whether you have in fact, torn your ACL.

ACL Surgeon Adelaide

What is the ACL?

Your knee joint is made up of the femur, tibia and patella.

The ACL is one of four major ligaments in the knee which connect the femur to the tibia.

This group of four ligaments contains:

  • medial collateral (MCL)
  • lateral collateral (LCL)
  • anterior cruciate (ACL)
  • posterior cruciate (PCL)

The ACL is located in the middle of the knee and its main role is to stop the tibia from sliding out in front of the femur.

The ACL also does the important job of providing rotational stability for the knee.

Evaluating an ACL Injury

Many ACL injuries actually occur alongside damage to the meniscus, articular cartilage and other ligaments. In these cases, MRI scans are usually used to spot injury to the cartilage.

A doctor will also usually order X Rays to check for any fractures as well as performing specific tests (including Lachman’s Test) to try to work out whether the ACL is still in tact or not.

Surgery for ACL Injuries

If an ACL is torn, it will generally be replaced by a substitute graft of tendon carried out in surgery. The ligament will be reconstructed or repaired.

Surgery for an ACL injury usually takes place when swelling around the knee cap has reduced and a range of movement has returned to an extent. You will undergo an anaesthetic and the surgeon will examine the knee before removing graft tissue in preparation for relocation.

The most commonly used grafts are autografts. This means that a part of the patient’s own body is used – such as one of the hamstring tendons or the patellar tendon (the tendon of the kneecap).

For more information about knee surgery, head to www.sprigginsorthopaedics.com.au for an additional insight on ACL’s.

Meniscus tears – what are they?

It can be incredibly painful and frustrating to tear your meniscus – especially if you’re an active individual who enjoys playing energetic or high contact sports.

However, there are ways to fix meniscus tears and you should always act as quickly as possible to avoid the injury becoming any worse.

What is a Meniscus Tear?

These are the most common type of knee injuries. A meniscus is a piece of cartilage that is positioned on the top of a bone.

Meniscus Tears are most common in the knee where the menisci are located on top of the tibia bone.

How do Meniscus Tear?

Menisci can tear in a number of ways. They appear differently on different people and can occur in different areas of the meniscus. Some common tears include;

  • Bucket handle
  • Flap
  • Radial

Meniscus tears can also occur in combination with other injuries such as ACL tears.

Causes of Meniscus Tears

It is usually through sports that sudden and unexpected meniscus tears occur. They can happen when individuals squat, change direction or twist their knee – resulting in a tear. In sports such as rugby, direct contact can also cause tears.

However it’s not just active sports players who can suffer from meniscus tears. Older people experience weakening cartilage which has become thin over time and eventually tears – this is called a degenerative meniscus tear.

Symptoms of a Miniscus Tear

Meniscus tears can be very uncomfortable and you may experience some of the following symptoms:

  • Stiffness and swelling
  • Catching or locking of your knee
  • Feeling like your knee is “giving way”
  • Reduced range of motion in the knee

Non Surgical Treatment

The most effective treatment for meniscus tears is often to follow the RICE Procedure.

  1. Rest
  2. Ice
  3. Compression
  4. Elevation

Unfortunately, tears of the meniscus in the knee is one of the most common sports injury. Hopefully you can avoid these types of injuries and stay fit and healthy!