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A Bad Injury To Your Knee Might Require ACL Repair Surgery

If you have knee pain after an injury while playing sports, your doctor might order tests to see if you have an ACL injury. If an ACL injury is confirmed, you might begin physical therapy and make plans for ACL repair surgery. These are some tests that diagnose an ACL injury that your doctor might order and what's involved with ACL repair.

Tests You Might Have To Diagnose An ACL Injury

Your doctor might order an MRI to visualize the tissues in your knee. An MRI shows the type of injury you've sustained, the location of the damage, and the degree of severity. An MRI creates an image of all the tissues in your knee. While the doctor might order an X-ray too, an X-ray only shows bone and not soft tissue damage.

Preparations Needed For Surgery

If your doctor determines surgery is needed, you'll probably undergo physical therapy first. Your knee will probably be stiff and swollen right after the injury, and it's best to wait for the swelling to go down until the doctor operates. You might have physical rehabilitation while you wait so your knee retains a normal range of motion, and it can also help with pain.

You may be taught exercises to do at home, or you may need to go to a physical therapy clinic for treatment. You may also wear a brace right after your injury to stabilize your knee. You may not be able to bear weight on your knee, so you might also need to use crutches while you prepare for surgery.

Methods Of ACL Repair

ACL repair surgery can be an open procedure or a minimally invasive surgery. Your doctor may recommend a minimally invasive procedure if possible since this type of surgery uses small incisions and is easier to recover from.

ACL repair surgery entails removing the damaged tissues in your knee and grafting in tendon tissue that's removed from your own body or that comes from a donor. A graft is usually used because stitching a damaged ligament together may not be as effective, and it could put you at risk of a future injury.

No matter which type of surgery you have, the recovery period could be long and require more physical therapy so your knee maintains full range of motion after it heals. Your doctor takes into account your age and activity level when deciding if surgery or another treatment is best for you.