It refers to a band of tough and fibrous tissue bundles that connects tibia (or shinbone) to fibula (or calf bone).
It prevents excessive anterior displacement (90%) of the tibia. The attachment allows the cruciate ligament to resist medial rotation of the tibia, anterior translation and front and rear knee angulations when it is completely stretched.
Athletes are more prone to suffer from this injury. The anterior cruciate ligament can be torn partially or completely. These kind of injuries occur when an athlete rapidly decelerates, followed by a sharp or sudden change in direction of the knee. Tears also take place when there is a heavy or stiff-legged landing.
Non-surgical treatment is called “conservative management”. It is recommended to elderly people or to patients with partial injuries who don't usually participate in sports.
Surgical treatment is oriented to young people who usually practice sport activities, who have undergone an ACL tear bigger than 50% of thickness or those who have an unstable knee when walking.
The surgery is undertaken arthroscopically. The reconstructive method uses other tendons in the body such as hamstring tendons for autograft techniques (gracilis and semitendinosus) or B-T-B techniques (patellar bone-tendon-bone). If these techniques are not possible, then graft of autologous tendons can be used (tissue bank graft). The graft is placed into position and fix with screws or staples.
Patient will be hospitalized for 24 hours for short-term management (pain and swelling) while regaining partial movement of the leg by using crutches.
Post surgery, patient will be immobilised with an external bracing bloqueada que permite ajustar los grados de flexión y extensión deseados.
After 10 days stitches will be removed and the rehabilitation programme will begin. It is important to ensure that your physiotherapist guides your rehab. Nowadays the great majority of patients can recover completely after the injury.
How long does a patient need to return sports?
Rehabilition period of 5-6 months is required to regain muscle strength and restore range of motion, hence to practise sports.