Anterior Cruciate Ligament or ACL is the most commonly injured ligament in the knee. This ligament is particularly important in twisting and turning movements of the knee. Thus rupture or tearing of this ligament results in instability or buckling of the knee while walking, running or playing. There is giving way sensation in particular movements and this predisposes the knee to further injury to the smooth cartilage, the menisci etc and results in early osteoarthritis of the knee. Generally an MRI is done to confirm the diagnosis of ACL tear.
When torn completely, the ACL never heals. It has to be reconstructed with one’s own tissue and fixed with implants. This procedure of ACL reconstruction is best done with arthroscopy. At the same time other associated pathologies like meniscus tears, cartilage injuries are also treated. The patient generally has to stay in the hospital for 2 to 3 days and has to use a pair of crutches and a belt for 3 weeks from the day of the operation. The patients generally are able to walk near normally by 1 month after this operation. Most sports persons are able to gradually resume training for their respective sports by 4 months and able to return to playing competitive sports by 9 to 10 months.