Should You Get Surgery on a Partially Torn ACL?

A partially torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) can mean any degree of tearing. It is either partially torn or entirely torn. The amount of damage and the way it affects your knee’s stability is different for each person. If you have no pain and have stability you do not need to get surgery. At least half of people with the injury, though, do experience instability and three-quarters suffer re-injury.

An ACL does not heal on its own, no ligament does. The only way to repair it is surgically. The other treatment options are to give up sports, or decrease the intensity, and to wear a knee brace when physically active. This is really one option, because you should do both. If you want to continue participating in sports which involve pivoting and cutting, you should definitely consider surgical reconstruction.

The surgery is not invasive; it is done through athroscopy, which is having a tube with a camera inserted into your knee through a small incision. There are also small incisions made for surgical instruments and fluid removal. This type of procedure has a much faster recovery time than opening up the whole knee.

The torn ligament is removed and a graft is put in its place. Most often part of your hamstring tendon or patellar tendon will be put in its place. Some say using the patellar tendon (which connects your kneecap to your shin) is preferable, but each type of graft has its pros and cons.

Physical therapy begins promptly after surgery. The sooner range of motion is recovered the better. Build up of scar tissue can impede regaining full range of motion. There is a machine used for knee joint recovery called a “Continuous Passive Motion” device. It is a controlled way to continually work your joint. Many people who have undergone ACL surgery recommend it.

Partially Torn ACL

Partially Torn ACL

For the first couple of weeks after surgery you need to use crutches, but this doesn’t mean you are not using your knee. There is a whole list of exercises to do, just specific ones, and weight bearing exercises need to be controlled. In the few months after surgery focus is placed on regaining full knee extension and returning to normal walking. Once you can do these things you can progress to regaining strength and agility. It can take up to one year to fully recover.

The exercises used to prevent ACL injuries can also be used to prevent re-injury. These exercises include jumping and balance drills, strengthening exercises, and agility exercises. If you look up some of the programs which have been developed for this specific thing, you will read terms like “neuromuscular conditioning” and “plyometric exercises”. Neuromuscular conditioning is training your body to be very conscious of specific movements. Learning how to jump and land with proper technique can greatly reduce the risk of injuring your knees. Plyometric exercises are explosive movements. The purpose of them is to reach maximum strength in minimum time. These include a lot of jumping exercises, like jumping up onto things and jumping over things.

The Top 5 At Home Exercises
I did that helped get me walking 4 days after surgery

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