medical knee injury, football or sport player in pain with sore

Athletes and active individuals know all too well the importance of a stable knee for performance and quality of life. When the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is torn or injured, it can significantly impact mobility and athletic ability. However, advancements in medical technology have made ACL reconstruction a viable option for restoring knee stability and getting individuals back on their feet. Dr. Hewitt, Sports Medicine Orthopedic surgeon, can help manage and treat this issue.

If you need surgery for this injury, Dr. Hewitt can see you from your initial visit, to surgery, and for follow-up without having to leave Kanab. You can call KCH Specialty Group to schedule an appointment at 435-644-4115.

Understanding ACL Injury

The ACL is one of the major ligaments in the knee, responsible for providing stability and preventing excessive forward movement of the shin bone (tibia) relative to the thigh bone (femur). ACL injuries are common among athletes involved in sports that require sudden stops, changes in direction, or jumping, such as soccer, basketball, and football. These injuries can occur due to sudden twisting or hyperextension of the knee, resulting in a partial or complete tear of the ligament.

The Role of ACL Reconstruction

ACL reconstruction is a surgical procedure aimed at rebuilding the torn ACL using a graft, typically harvested from the patient’s own hamstring tendon, patellar tendon, or a donor tendon. The graft is then secured in place using screws or other fixation devices to restore stability to the knee joint. ACL reconstruction is often recommended for individuals who experience persistent symptoms such as knee instability, pain, or giving way episodes despite conservative treatments such as physical therapy and bracing.

The Procedure

During ACL reconstruction surgery, the orthopedic surgeon makes small incisions around the knee to access the torn ligament. The damaged ACL is then removed, and the graft is inserted in its place. The surgeon meticulously positions and secures the graft to ensure proper alignment and stability of the knee joint. The procedure is performed under general or regional anesthesia and typically takes about one to two hours to complete.

Recovery and Rehabilitation

Following ACL reconstruction, patients undergo a structured rehabilitation program to regain strength, flexibility, and range of motion in the knee. Physical therapy plays a crucial role in the recovery process, focusing on exercises to improve muscle strength, balance, and proprioception. Most individuals can return to low-impact activities within a few months after surgery, with a gradual progression to higher-impact and sports-specific activities over time.

Benefits of ACL Reconstruction

  • Restored stability: ACL reconstruction helps restore stability to the knee joint, reducing the risk of recurrent injuries and allowing individuals to return to their desired level of activity.
  • Improved function: With proper rehabilitation, many patients experience improved knee function and a return to sports and recreational activities without limitations.
  • Prevention of long-term complications: ACL reconstruction can help prevent long-term complications associated with untreated ACL injuries, such as osteoarthritis and meniscal tears.

Final Thoughts

ACL reconstruction is a valuable treatment option for individuals with ACL injuries seeking to restore knee stability and function. If you’ve experienced a knee injury or suspect you may have torn your ACL, consult with an orthopedic specialist to explore your options for treatment and rehabilitation. With the right care and commitment to rehabilitation, ACL reconstruction can help you get back to doing what you love with confidence and peace of mind.