Tearing Your ACL

ACL Surgery Midland, TXWith football season fast approaching, you’ll hear about players spraining or tearing their ACL. This has become so common in football that announcers think everyone automatically knows what they’re talking about. Just in case you don’t, here’s some information on ACL injuries and what we can do for them at Urgent Orthopedic Specialists.

What is the ACL?

There are four primary ligaments that connect the bones of the knee. The cruciate ligaments are on the inside of the knee joint, with the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the front and the posterior cruciate in the back. Together those two ligaments form an “X” and control the back and forth motion of the knee.

Injuring the ACL

Injured ligaments are called “sprains” and are graded based on their severity

  • Grade 1 sprain — Ligament is mildly damaged. Slightly stretched, but can keep the knee stable.
  • Grade 2 sprain — Ligament is stretched to the point it is loose. This is often called a partial tear. Partial tears of the ACL are rare.
  • Grade 3 sprain — This is a complete tear of the ligament. The ligament is split, and the knee is unstable. Most ACL tears are complete or near complete.

What causes an ACL injury?

Certain forces and the ACL don’t get along. When you look at this list, you’ll understand why football and soccer players tear their ACL often.

  • Stopping suddenly
  • Rapid directional change when running
  • Rapid slowing down while running
  • Landing at a bad angle from a jump
  • Direct contact or collision

Can the ACL repair itself?

Other ligaments such as the MCL are often partially torn, and they can mend themselves without requiring surgery. The ACL rarely partially tears, and it usually requires surgery to repair it. You would think you could simply sew the torn ligament back together, but this is not done because the ligament will never fully heal and is prone to tearing again.

ACL surgery

Instead, Dr. Floyd and the Urgent Orthopedic team will reconstruct the ACL with a ligament graft. Ligament Grafts can be made using donor tissue or using the patient’s tissue. These grafts can be taken from the hamstring tendon or the patella tendon. Surgery is usually done several weeks after the injury to allow swelling and inflammation to settle down.

Do you think you may have torn your ACL? Call the team at Urgent Orthopedics, 432-520-3020, and let’s take a look.

Posted in: ACL Surgery

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