An ACL Tear That Heals Itself?

This common knee injury typically requires reconstruction surgery, but a new type of treatment that harnesses biologics is changing that.

A blown anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, is the fear of athletes everywhere, or almost anyone who has a knee. Treatment for a torn ACL typically involves surgically reconstructing the ligament with harvested tissue.

But what if a new type of treatment could prompt the ruptured ligament to just grow back together again, eliminating the need to harvest replacement tissue?

Moving beyond reconstruction toward restoration, or enabling the ligament to repair itself, is the idea behind an emerging area of orthopedics that looks to harness biologics—in some cases animal tissue augmented with human blood and other growth factors—to rally the body’s natural healing processes.

One method that’s already in use in some cases is the Bridge-Enhanced ACL Restoration Implant—known as the BEAR implant—which encourages the stumps of a torn ACL to grow back together. The procedure utilizes a cylindrical marshmallow-like implant made of bovine collagen injected with a patient’s blood, and the growth factors therein that proponents say can help jump-start healing.

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  • A loud pop or a “popping” sensation in the knee.
  • Severe pain and inability to continue the activity.
  • Rapid swelling.
  • Loss of range of motion.
  • A feeling of instability or “giving way” with weight bearing.
Very minor tears (sprains) may heal with non-surgical treatments and regenerative medicine therapy. But full ACL tears cannot be healed without surgery. If your activities do not involve making pivoting movements on the knee, physical therapy rehabilitation may be all you need.
One of the most feared sports and work injuries is a tear of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), which has ended or derailed the careers of numerous high-profile athletes.A torn ACL is very painful and can debilitate a person for several months and perhaps for life, although recovery for some is possible.
Can you walk with a torn ACL? The short answer is yes. After the pain and swelling subside and if there is no other injury to your knee, you may be able to walk in straight lines, go up and down stairs and even potentially jog in a straight line.
Most people have some surgery-related pain and discomfort for the first week or so. Not surprisingly, pain decreases with time. By the end of a week or two at the most, you should have very little discomfort. Swelling and bruising are also relatively common, and like discomfort, they’re temporary.
Within the first few weeks after surgery, you should strive to regain a range of motion equal to that of your opposite knee. Recovery generally takes about nine months. It may take eight to 12 months or more before athletes can return to their sports.

You’re given general anesthesia. This means you’re unconscious for the procedure. You’ll have pain, swelling, and stiffness after the surgery. It can be two or three weeks before you walk without crutches.

When you’ve torn your ACL you will lose a range of motion. Try bending your knee and then straightening it out. If you can’t bend your knee to a 90-degree angle or straighten out your leg because of pain, stiffness, and swelling, then it is likely that you’ve torn your ACL.
Most ACL reconstruction procedures take two hours or less. Your doctor will let you know how long you’ll be in surgery. Some factors can affect the time it takes for the entire surgical process, such as The type of graft you’re having — either an autograft or allograft.
Non-surgical Treatment

The time it takes to recover is approximately 3 months.
If left untreated, a small ACL tear will increase in size, causing more pain and increasing the laxity in the knee. Without a properly functioning ACL, the other structures of the knee experience greater strain, which causes further injuries to tissues in the knee.


*Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a diagnosis, treatment, or prescription of any kind. The decision to use, or not to use, any information is the sole responsibility of the reader. These statements are not expressions of legal opinion relative to the scope of practice, medical diagnosis, or medical advice, nor do they represent an endorsement of any product, company, or specific massage therapy technique, modality, or approach. All trademarks, registered trademarks, brand names, registered brand names, logos, and company logos referenced in this post are the property of their owner


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