ACL Repair and Other Treatment Options for Knee Pain in Freehold, NJ
ACL repair is a surgical procedure designed to address a damaged anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). As explained by the orthopedic knee specialists at New Jersey Sports Medicine in Freehold, NJ, this small bundle of collagen, which is situated at the center of the knee, serves as a restrictor that limits motion to the range that the joint can safely accommodate. Despite its important function, however, the ACL is not only the weakest of the four ligaments that connect the thigh bone (femur) and shin bone (tibia) in the knee joint, it is also the weakest ligament in the entire body. As a result, the need for ACL repair is quite common.
Even though the ACL is not used for walking — or even jogging — it plays a vital role in providing stability to the knee joint during activities that involve frequent jumping, turning, and stopping. Therefore, sports like football, basketball, and soccer often expose this weak collagen to forces that it was not intended to withstand. This can lead to ligament tears and the need for ACL repair among active individuals.
Many athletes refer to an ACL tear – which is signaled by a tell-tale popping sound – as the nastiest injury in sports. But, it doesn’t have to spell the end of an athletic career. The orthopedic subspecialists at New Jersey Sports Medicine in Freehold perform innovative ACL repair techniques that can effectively reconstruct a torn knee ligament. In fact, many of today’s patients recover much faster than those who experienced similar injuries only a few years ago.
When performing an ACL repair procedure, a surgeon will typically:
- Create one or more small incisions in the knee area
- Insert a tiny camera and light instrument (arthroscope) to create highly detailed images of the joint interior
- Harvest a strip of the middle third of the patellar tendon with the bone blocks at each end (alternatively, a surgeon may use a hamstring tendon or allograft (donor tendon) to perform the ACL repair)
- Remove a damaged ACL and precisely place and secure the graft
In approximately eight months, the graft will vascularize, or transform into a functional ligament and become an actual, organic part of the knee. Usually, the new ACL will be stronger than the original ACL.
While ACL repair can be very effective for certain patients, the best approach is to avoid the need for surgery in the first place. A general awareness about the potential for knee injuries, along with the practice of exercise techniques designed to strengthen the joint, can go a long way toward helping athletes reduce the likelihood of ligament damage and the need for ACL repair surgery. For individualized advice and guidance, individuals in the Freehold, NJ, area can consult with the experienced orthopaedists at New Jersey Sports Medicine.
If you’d like to learn more, contact us to schedule a consultation about ACL repair surgery and other treatment options for knee injuries today.