Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury is a very common sports injury, occurring in an estimated 200,000 people per year in the United States. These injuries can occur when extra torque and pressure is applied to the knee during sports, such as from pivoting strongly on a firmly planted foot, landing awkwardly from a jump or from player-to-player contact (standing tackle, slide tackle etc).
The ACL is present in the center of the knee joint and links the femur to the tibia bone. This ligament provides stability in the knee for pivoting and changing directions. When the ACL is torn the knee will typically swell up and be painful. Patients may initially have difficulty fully straightening or bending the knee, and sometimes weightbearing may be painful. Because this ligament does not heal on its own, most patients will consider ACL surgery in order to stabilize and restore the knee. Dr. Nigro is an arthroscopic knee specialist that utilizes an anatomic reconstructive technique for ACL injuries. It is very important to restore full range of motion to the knee after an ACL injury prior to surgical treatment. Dr. Nigro will typically use two or three weeks of directed physical therapy treatments to aid in swelling reduction and mobilization of the injured knee before surgery.
During surgery, Dr. Nigro uses small arthroscopic incisions and a high definition fiber optic camera to visualize all the injured structures in the knee. Injured remnants of the ACL are removed. Sockets are drilled into the femur and tibia at the attachment site on the femur and tibia. High strength sutures are used to shuttle the new ACL into place and this is secured with bioresorbable screws and/or high strength suture button. Any additional injured stuctures (meniscus, cartilage, ligaments) are repaired at the same time. ACL reconstruction is done as a same day surgery, with patients able to bear weight on the surgical limb immediately after surgery. Dr. Nigro uses a graduated course of physical therapy to regain strength in the injured knee. Patients are cleared for jogging and running by three months and cleared for full sport participation by 6-9 months post operatively. Dr. Nigro has patients work on the PEP ACL prevention protocol prior to returning to sport.
PEP ACL Prevention
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