The connection between the two bones of the leg the femur and the tibia are made by three ligaments, one of which is the anterior cruciate ligament or ACL. When this ligament is torn apart, one cannot move. This is the most common type of anterior cruciate ligament injuries that most sportspeople suffer when they try to make a running stop with the knee in a twisted position. It is one of the most painful injuries that one has to contend with. Despite surgery, the return to the previous type of activity is not sustainable but this decision lies mostly with a doctor. The method of curing this type of injury is to surgically graft another ligament.
The ACL reconstruction surgery for an ACL injury is to either graft a ligament from another part of the body or to use a ligament from a cadaver. Neither of the methods of surgery is completely reliable or foolproof. When a torn anterior cruciate ligament is replaced from with a graft from the patient’s own body, there is usually a lot of pain and trauma that occurs in the area from where the graft was harvested. With using a graft from a cadaver, the risk of infection is much higher. After the surgery, ACL surgery rehab is also required. ACL surgery recovery rates are quite good with the combination of rehab and surgery. The rehab program spans over 10 weeks or more of slowly reintegrating the knee to do more intensive tasks at each step until complete mobility is achieved. The first week of rehab deals with simple things like pain relief and managing swelling with movement. The third and fourth weeks of rehab involves pushing the knee into action again. At this time, braces will be worn to prevent injury. Exercises are conducted to ensure that the patient can achieve 100 degree motion of the knee.
From the fourth till the sixth week, more strenuous exercises and done to achieve 130 degree movement of the knee. At week 6 to 8, the patient should start doing regular workouts. Week 8 to 10 involves yet more strength building exercises for the knee and also more emphasis on maintaining balance. After this phase, the patient should be completely fine again and can return to active life; though, regular visits to the hospital for activity tests will be required. Most importantly, one must prevent atrophy.