What is the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)?
Your knee has four primary ligaments that provide crucial stability to this large joint:
- Medial collateral ligament
- Lateral collateral ligament
- Anterior cruciate ligament
- Posterior cruciate ligament
The ACL runs diagonally across your knee and maintains the position and relationship between the femur and the tibia. This diagonal crossing of the ACL and the PCL forms somewhat of a cross, leading to the name “cruciate” ligaments. The ACL is also responsible for the rotational stability in your knee.
What causes an ACL tear?
ACL tears are most often associated with sports because the tear usually results from the following movements:
- A sudden change in direction
- A sudden stop or slowing down
- Landing incorrectly
- Direct contact
These injuries are commonplace in sports, but you can also injure your ACL during the course of your everyday routine or work.
What are the symptoms of an ACL tear?
Many people hear a loud popping noise when they tear their ACL, and their knee suddenly gives out. These first indicators of an ACL tear are typically associated with:
- Loss of range of motion
- Loss of mobility
- Recurrent giving-way and instability
The best way to find out whether you’ve torn your ACL is to see one of the knee specialists at ORTHOKnox.
What are the treatments for an ACL tear?
Drs. Hovis and Mitchell offer several options for ACL reconstruction, which aim to restore function and stability to your knee, prevent further damage, and help you return to the sports or activities of your choice.
Your primary decision when it comes to surgery is to choose which graft your surgeon uses for the ligament reconstruction. There are three possibilities:
A patellar tendon graft
This technique is often called the bone-tendon-bone or BTB, due to harvesting the graft with a piece of bone attached on both ends. This is a very common choice.
Another commonly used graft is a hamstring graft, sometimes referred to by the names of the tendons, the semitendinosus, and gracilis or simply “semi-T.” This graft requires a different fixation technique than does the patellar tendon but produces the same excellent results.
Also called a cadaver graft, the allograft may be one of many different tissues depending on your surgeon’s preferences, including patellar tendon bone-tendon-bone, hamstring tendons, Achilles tendon, or one of several other soft tissue graft choices.
ACL Surgery in Knoxville & Athens, TN
To explore your options in repairing an ACL tear, call ORTHOKnox or use the online scheduling tool to book an appointment.