It is possible to walk after a tear in the anterior cruciate ligament. The swelling, inflammation, and pain start to subside after a few days and you may be able to walk, climb stairs, or even jog, a little if the injury is not too severe. The anterior cruciate ligament provides balance and stability to the knee especially in movements like turning. twisting, and changing directions.
If the ACL tear is not severe, it is possible to walk, but if the ACL is completely torn, continuing to walk may cause injury to the ligaments of the knee, which can lead to osteoarthritis and permanent damage. Some people who experience a tear in their ACL are unable to return to activities that involve strength and stability of the knee.
How to know if my ACL is torn?
At the time of the ACL tear, a popping sound may be heard accompanied by immediate swelling, pain, and inflammation. The affected knee will feel unstable and you would not be able to put any weight on it. There is a loss of range of motion and the knee buckles out if you try to walk or stand. If you have a torn ACL, you should immediately see an orthopedic and get a proper diagnosis. Leaving an ACL tear untreated can put the cartilages and ligaments of the knee at the risk of permanent damage.
What happens if I walk on a completely torn ACL?
It is possible to walk on a partially torn anterior cruciate ligament, but there is a risk of further injury to the knee. Walking despite a torn ACL can damage the cartilage of the knee permanently and worsen the injury and symptoms extensively. However, if the ACL is torn completely, walking becomes much more painful. There is frequent buckling or giving out of the knee. As the ACL is responsible for maintaining balance and stability in the knee, a tear in it can affect the movements and strength of the joint.
It is best to avoid any high impact activities, or sudden twisting and pivoting movements of the knee until you have had a proper diagnosis and treatment. You should see an orthopedic immediately if you have torn your ACL. For the diagnosis, the doctor may take conclusive scans, like MRIs, and may physically examine the knee once the swelling, and inflammation have subsided to determine the extent of the injury.
How are ACL tears diagnosed?
During the diagnosis of an ACL tear, the orthopedic physically examine the knee for signs of bruising, deformities, swelling, and tenderness The stability of the injured knee is compared to that of the healthy knee, and diagnostic scans like X-rays and magnetic resonance imaging are performed. After a proper diagnosis, a treatment and rehabilitation plan consisting of rest, physiotherapy, or surgery is made.
ACL reconstruction surgery for torn ACL
If the tear in the anterior cruciate ligament is partial and not severe, physiotherapy and rest can treat the injury effectively. But if the ACL is torn completely, then your orthopedic may suggest surgery.
ACL reconstruction surgery is a procedure that reconstructs the torn ligament using the tendon graft from the same knee or a donor. The surgery is performed arthroscopically. In this procedure, a camera and surgical instruments are inserted through very small incisions to reconstruct the torn ligament. The arthroscopic procedure aims to avoid blood loss, large stitches, scarring, and pain after the surgery. Physical therapy and exercise under the guidance of a physiotherapist are necessary after the surgery for proper recovery.
Why is arthroscopic ACL reconstruction surgery preferred by orthopedic surgeons?
Several orthopedic surgeons suggest an arthroscopic ACL reconstruction surgery as compared to traditional open surgery for ACL injuries. Arthroscopic surgeries make use of a camera that is inserted through small incisions at the site of the injury. Clear images of the site of surgery are obtained on the computer screen, and the torn ligament is reconstructed with the use of a tendon graft. There are several benefits that arthroscopic ACL reconstruction surgeries have over the traditional ones. Some of them are listed below.
- A clear image of the ligaments and cartilages of the knee, making the surgery easier.
- There are fewer chances of blood loss.
- Lesser stitches are required.
- Minimal scarring.
- Significantly less pain.
- Quicker recovery.
- Ability to walk a couple of days after the surgery.
What are some nonsurgical treatment options for an ACL tear?
If the tear in the anterior cruciate ligament is partial, it is not necessary to undergo surgery for its treatment. A proper treatment plan consisting of ample rest, and physiotherapy can prove to be effective in healing the damaged ligament. Proper exercise and rehabilitation of the knee under the guidance of an orthopedic and a physiotherapist can help build the strength of the knee muscles again and provide stability and support to the knee. A knee brace can also be worn to provide support and protection to the knee. This treatment alternative usually takes a few months to show proper effect. However, there are some cases when surgery becomes necessary to treat the injury. The decision can only be made after a proper diagnosis with the use of diagnostic scans and physical examination has been made by an orthopedic specialist.