Conservative and Surgical ACL Repair Options Available Near Monroe Township, NJ
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the most commonly injured ligaments in the knee, especially among people who participate in high-intensity sports such as football, soccer, basketball, and skiing. As explained by the orthopedic knee specialists at New Jersey Sports Medicine near Monroe Township, NJ, this type of injury is often a result of deceleration combined with pivoting, cutting, sidestepping, or moving “out of control,” rather than sustaining a direct blow to the knee.
Does ACL repair always involves surgery?
A torn ACL can sometimes heal without surgical intervention. At New Jersey Sports Medicine, we strive to help each patient find the most conservative treatment approach that is effective. We understand that most people would prefer to avoid surgery whenever possible, and we share that preference. We generally only recommend ACL repair surgery as a first-line treatment to address a complex combination injury, such as an ACL tear with damage to the menisci, articular cartilage, collateral ligaments, or joint capsule. Surgical treatment may involve replacing the damaged ligament with a graft made of tendon.
Alternatively, nonsurgical ACL repair, such as a progressive physical therapy program or hinged knee brace, may be effective for addressing:
- A partial ACL tear that is not causing knee instability
- A complete ACL tear that is causing knee instability, but only during high-demand activities – if the patient is willing to forego these activities
- Any type of ACL injury if the patient’s occupation and lifestyle involve only light physical activity
- Any type of ACL injury in a child whose growth plates are still open (surgery may be delayed until the child reaches skeletal maturity)
Whether or not a patient has surgery, physical therapy almost always plays a key role in ACL repair. The goals of physical therapy are to reduce joint swelling, maintain kneecap mobility (to prevent anterior knee pain), regain full range of motion, improve balance, and strengthen the quadriceps and hamstring muscles, which support the knee. After a successful ACL repair, the use of a functional knee brace is usually unnecessary, but some patients may still prefer to wear one while participating in sports due to the sense of security it provides.
If you’d like to learn about your ACL repair options, contact New Jersey Sports Medicine to schedule a personal consultation at our sports medicine center, which is located near Monroe Township, NJ.