Dr. Kevin Yip

Dr Kevin Yip
Orthopaedic Surgeon
MBBS(UK), FRCS(EDIN), FAM(SING), FHKCOS(ORTHO)

Featured on Channel NewsAsia

Knee injury – Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tear

What is Anterior Cruciate Ligament tear?

The anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, is one of four major knee ligaments. The ACL is critical to knee stability, and people who injure their ACL often complain of symptoms of their knee giving-out from under them. Therefore, many patients who sustain an ACL tear opt to have surgical treatment of this injury.

How to diagnose ACL tear?

The diagnosis of an ACL tear is made by several methods. Patients who have an ACL tear often have sustained an injury to the knee. The injury is often sports-related. They may have felt a “pop” in their knee, and the knee usually gives out from under them.

ACL tears cause knee swelling and pain. On examination, your doctor can look for signs of instability of knee. These special tests place stress on the ACL, and can detect a torn ligament. An MRI may also be used to determine if the ligament is torn, and also to look for signs of any associated injuries in the knee.

Many patients with an ACL tear start to feel better within weeks of the injury. These individuals may feel as though their knee is normal again, but the problems with instability may persist.

What are the treatments?

The usual surgery for an ACL tear is called an ACL reconstuction. A repair of the ligament is rarely a possibility, and thus the ligament is reconstructed using another tendon or ligament to substitute for the torn ligament.

There are several options for how to perform ACL sugery. The most significant choice is the type of graft used to reconstruct the torn ACL. There are also variations in the procedure, such as the new ‘ double bundle ‘ ACL reconstruction.

What are the rehabilitations?

Rehab is one of the most important, yet too often neglected, aspects of ACL reconstruction surgery. Rehab following ACL sugery focuses on restoring motion and strength, and improving the stability of the joint to prevent future injuries.

While general guidelines exist for ACL rehab, it is critically important that each individual progress through their rehab as their knee allows. Progressing too quickly or too slowly can be detrimental to overall results from surgery, therefore it is important to ensure your therapist and physician is guiding your rehab.

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