You are more prone to sustain an anterior cruciate ligament tear (ACL tear) when engaging in physically demanding activities. With a damaged ACL, engaging in strenuous exercise can result in meniscus tears and this can lead to excruciating knee pain. ACL tears can be treated surgically or non-surgically (with physical therapy and other options). Most people choose Surgery, but some opt for alternative therapies as well. Tendon grafts are used in the surgical treatment of ACL to reconstruct the ligament.
If you are suffering from an ACL tear and are unsure whether you should opt for Surgery, read the article till the end. Know about treatment plans and the long-term effects of ACL tear without Surgery.
Downsides Of No Surgery For ACL Tear
If you have pain and swelling in your knee and you fear that your ACL might have been torn, you must get your knee evaluated by a professional healthcare provider to diagnose your condition. It is important to know Can a torn ACL heal without surgery?
You can also be suffering from other associated ligament or meniscus injuries. After making the diagnosis, the doctor would advise icing and resting the injured area. If you do not go for a consultation or put off rehabilitation and persist with the same activity, your knee condition can get worse. After consultation, you must go for treatment as early as possible if you are diagnosed with an ACL tear.
There are several treatment plans which can help you get rid of continuous pain, i.e.;
- Following the Rehabilitation protocols
- Platelet-rich plasma therapies (PRP)
- Stem cell therapies (BMAC, MSCs)
- ACL reconstruction surgery
Among these options, Surgery forms a critical arm. It restores stability to the knee joint, and prevent further injury to knee structure. According to research, patients who initially try rehabilitation, especially those who want to keep up active lifestyles, may still end up with surgery due to persistent feeling of giving way.. Young athletes and active patients should consider ACL reconstruction to avoid damage to the meniscus and cartilage inside the knee.
You might need more time to consider the operation and its recovery. You can opt for non-surgical treatments in the meantime. In any case, you must be aware of the long-term effects of ACL tear without Surgery. It helps you make good informed decisions for your health. The following can be downsides of not having surgery for an ACL tear:
If you have a torn ACL, participating in sports, employment, and activities that require a stable knee will be restricted. Your knee strength and stability will likely be restricted, preventing you from engaging in sports and job-related activities that require quick rotating, cutting, and landing. Either way, attempting these things will make your knee feel unstable or swollen. The knee is unlikely to tolerate forceful movements, and fast changes in direction.
Risk of Tearing your Meniscus
You also risk injuring your meniscus, the cartilage, and the other ligaments in your knee when your ACL is ruptured, and you have not gone through Surgery. The longer you wait to obtain care, the worse your injuries might get. More importantly, even if your meniscus was healthy and unharmed during the first incident that led to your ruptured ACL, postponing treatment causes significant damage to it if you continue being active.
When the ACL is frail and unable to do its job, the knee undergoes more abnormal movement, and the meniscus must withstand more strain in an attempt to provide more support. As a result, meniscus damage from untreated ACL rupture is common. Meniscus damage has additional consequences, including a higher risk of developing osteoarthritis.
Risk Of Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis risk is increased by meniscus damage and ACL tear. In order to keep patients from developing osteoarthritis, it is important to restore stability to your knee joint, by considering ACL surgery. Otherwise, the patient can have cartilage damage , cartilage thinning, and bone spur formation, while accumulating meniscus tears at the same time.
Long-term Instability In The Knee
Do you know What happens if a torn ACL goes untreated? You run the risk of acquiring chronic knee pain and knee instability. To get the right treatment to treat the instability, Surgery should be your choice. Or you might need to change your hobbies and stop participating in intense sports to deal with the continuous instability.
Frequent Pain and swelling
After suffering an ACL tear, using your knee further exacerbates the issue. You contribute to a continuous inflammatory response, the ligament continues to deteriorate,. your road to recovery grows harder and longer if the injury gets worse. You may experience a cycle of recurrent swelling, and pain, and inability to achieve your previous functional level in sports and recreation.
The ACL is one of the four major ligaments that hold the thigh and shin bones in place. Without it, the bones could make unintentional movements. Your knee may get hurt as a result. The ACL stabilizes the shinbone of the knee against the thigh bone. Your knee is more likely to sustain additional injuries when the ACL is torn or shattered because both bones would shift improperly during movements.
Additionally, you should be aware that the ACL does not repair well on its own due to its poor blood supply. You need ACL surgery to get beyond this barrier and to assist your knee in regaining its full health.
Uncertainty With Non-Surgical Treatments
Many patients who do not opt for surgery undergo physiotherapy. The aim of physiotherapy is to reduce pain and swelling, restore strength and mobility. However, the knee remains without the anterior cruciate ligament. With non-surgical treatments, the ACL-injured knee may never recover its full functionality. As a result, the patient will never have the full confidence in returning to the same sporting level. Therefore, Surgery is highly recommended if you want to get back to your active life.
Continuing with a high sporting level in an ACL-deficient knee will result in permanent damage, necessitating long-term treatment. Whether you opt for Surgery or not, you need to consult a doctor.
The role of PRP and other injections in ACL tear is controversial, and may not change the outcomes.
Contact ACL Surgery Singapore right away, discuss your objective with the doctor, and visit us at Hip & Knee Orthopaedics Singapore for complete and satisfactory treatment!
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