Brand New ACL A torn (ACL) can

be extremely painful. The ligament stabilizes the knee and can rupture during contact sports, falls, or accidents. ACL tears almost always require ACL reconstruction, which is the removal and replacement of the ligament. After the surgery, a lengthy recovery and rehabilitation are needed to return to everyday activities and sports. During recovery, patients may have concerns about re-injuring the ligament. While another tear is possible, some strategies exist to maintain optimal ACL health for the long term.

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Pros and cons of ACL reconstruction

With any surgical procedure comes advantages and drawbacks. A new ACL restores knee strength, stability, and movement. Without surgery, the knee is less stable, and the odds of adjacent injuries, like meniscus tears, increase significantly. Surgery helps avoid the risk of these injuries, which can require additional procedures and a longer recovery time. ACL reconstruction is also crucial for those who need to return to sports, like high-performance athletes. At the same time, ACL reconstruction recovery can take months. There is also the possibility of surgery-related complications, like bleeding, infection, and chronic knee pain. Doctors recommend reviewing the pros and cons before deciding on surgery.

Can I re-injure my knee?

Anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction requires a new tendon from the individual’s body or a donor. These new ligaments are strong and last for decades. However, there is a chance of injuring the same ligament, especially if participating in contact sports. Statistics show the re-injury rate is 6% within the first 2 years after surgery. These statistics increase over time to 31% at most after 15 years. Different factors influence re-injury rates. The patient’s age, health, weight, and activity type play a significant role in injury rates. Re-injury can often require extended physical therapy (PT) or a second ACL reconstruction.

Follow these post-op tips

Undergoing ACL reconstruction is not enough to guarantee future knee function and stability. A comprehensive rehab is part of the healing process. After surgery, post-op care and a commitment to PT is crucial to ensure the long-term health of the ligament and knee. Exercise and mobility routines ensure the surrounding muscles and tendons are strong and flexible enough to support the knee. At the same time, rest and recovery are essential to reduce inflammation and the chances of re-injury. Find the right balance to maximize knee strength and function.

Protect your bone and cartilage

Studies show that ACL reconstruction increases the risk of degenerative issues like osteoarthritis. The degree of damage to the cartilage, inflammation, and potential damage during surgery can lead to knee degeneration. This correlation can also set the stage for a future ACL injury. Knee care also requires proper hydration, diet, and supplementation. Speak with a doctor for advice on caring for the entire joint over time. The right surgery can also help to protect the knee and reduce injury. For instance, minimally invasive surgery (MIS) uses smaller incisions to repair the ligament. This technique minimizes damage to the knee and may potentially reduce the chance of future complications.

Enjoy a healthy ACL for years to come

An ACL injury can severely limit knee function. In most cases, surgery can restore stability and preserve long-term knee function. Despite the benefits, there is a risk of re-injury in the future. Proper knee care during and after surgery can keep the joint healthy and reduce the chances of injury. Consistent exercise, stretching, mobility, and recovery, along with a holistic approach to health, are the keys to success. ACL reconstruction allows individuals, especially athletes, to move with confidence again.

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