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Tanner Clinic,

Robert S. Rice, MD.

Sports Surgeon Utah

ACL

Injuries to the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) in the knee are fairly common. When the ACL is injured the result is instability of the knee joint. This can be manifest through knee buckling or giving way. This abnormal motion in the knee can cause injury to other structures such as the meniscus or cartilage. In order to restore the normal function of the ACL and knee stability, reconstruction surgery can be performed. Prior to undergoing surgery, it is important that the injured knee have near normal motion, but in achieving the ability to fully straighten (extension) the knee, as well as bending (flexion) the knee. If surgery is performed before acceptable motion is present, then there is a significantly increased risk of knee stiffness following the operation.

There are various techniques currently utilized to surgically repair the ACL. In all techniques, the goal is to provide a new ACL that restores the normal stability of the knee allowing return to normal activity. The technique I use most regularly is all- inside ACL reconstruction. In this manner, smaller tunnels are created in the bone and the hard surface (cortex) of the bone is not violated. This allows for smaller incisions in the skin and typically less pain. With the reduction in immediate post- procedure pain, patients are more likely to achieve normal motion earlier in their recovery.

Equally important as the surgical repair is the post-operative rehabilitation in achieving full knee recovery and function. Patients are allowed to begin walking on the surgically repaired leg the same day of surgery. Physical therapy is an integral piece in the recovery process. Most patients will work with their therapist for approximately three months following the operation. Physical therapy assists with swelling reduction, range of motion and strength return, and balance training. When full recovery from ACL surgery is achieved, it is anticipated that patients will be able to return to all of their normal activities.