Symptoms of an ACL Injury:
- Patients with an ACL tear often report instability in the knee and a
- Feeling as if it will “give out”, or pop out of place
More times than not, patients will opt to have ACL surgery to treat the injury because of the desire to resume contact or twisting sports, such as skiing. A large majority of ACL injuries—approximately 50 percent—occur in combination with an additional injury and damage to the meniscus, articular cartilage, or other ligaments.
In addition to role in providing stability, the ACL also provides protection for the menisci of the knee. When the knee continues to have instability episodes, it is not uncommon for the medial or lateral meniscus to tear. However, with the presence of a meniscal tear there is much higher risk of developing osteoarthritis. Because of this, Dr. LaPrade usually recommends ACL reconstruction for an ACL tear in young or otherwise active patients, in patients who have meniscal tears, and in almost all patients who report instability with twisting or turning activities.
Dr. LaPrade will evaluate the patient’s knee to determine if in fact an ACL tear has occurred through a series of clinical tests, x-rays and an MRI. The MRI will also determine if there is an injury associated with another knee ligament, the meniscus or articular cartilage.
In order to verify if the ACL is in fact still intact, Dr. LaPrade will perform the Lachman’s test. In a torn ACL, increased forward movement will be felt in relation to the tibia and femur. This will feel mushy and soft which is the result of an ACL tear. Other tests may also be used including the Pivot Shift Test to check for anterolateral instability of the knee.