All About the ACL

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In November of 2010, I was playing basketball in the fifth game of my senior season. It was just like any other game. However, I would soon find out otherwise. It was late in the game; I drove into the lane and got fouled hard. I was knocked so off-balance that I speared the floor with my knee. As soon as my knee hit the floor I heard a “snap” that I will never forget for the rest of my life. Little did I know at the time, that would be the last shot of my high school basketball career. Not long after my injury, I consulted a doctor. After getting an x-ray and an MRI, the doctor informed me that I had completely torn my ACL and would need to have surgery. An ACL tear can be a very devastating injury. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the four major ligaments within the knee. The ACL is one of the most commonly injured ligaments, injured by an estimated 200,000 patients each year. Of the 200,000 annual ACL injuries, surgery is performed in approximately 100,000 cases. There are many types of reconstructive surgery on the ACL. However, there is an alternative to surgery in the form of physical therapy.

To understand the importance of the ACL, the knee as a whole must be examined. The knee is formed by the femur, the tibia, and the patella. Several muscles and ligaments control the motion of the knee and protect it from damage at the same time. Ligaments are dense structures of connective tissue that fasten bone to bone and stabilize the knee. Two ligaments on either side of the knee, called the medial and lateral collateral ligaments, stabilize the knee from side-to-side. The ACL along with the posterior cruciate ligament are of a pair of ligaments in the center of the knee joint that form a cross. T...

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...ograft. If the graft comes from someone who has died, it is called an allograft. Doctors have tried using some types of synthetic grafts but so far these have not worked well. Research is being done to see if there are better types of grafts that can be used.

Your healthcare provider will discuss the options with you and will help you decide which procedure is best for you.

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