The choice of treatment for an ACL tear involves many factors including age, job, lifestyle, and most importantly the patient’s expectation of the result.
2 Ways of Treating an ACL Tear
1. Non-operative Treatment
Non-operative treatment is suitable for patients who have a single isolated ACL injury and no other associated injury within the knee joint. These patients should be able to adapt their lifestyles to prevent rapid twisting of the knee. This type of treatment is also recommended for elderly patients or for patients who lead sedentary lifestyles.
2. Operative Treatment
Operative treatment is chosen for patients who have an ACL injury with associated injuries such as cartilage lesion, avulsion fracture, meniscal tear, or multiligamentous injuries.
Surgery is also recommended for patients whose activities or career involve rapid twisting of the knee, such as young adults that regularly play sports (football, basketball, badminton, volleyball, or tennis), athletes, soldiers, policemen, or anyone whose job involves climbing.
Surgery may also be suggested for patients who still have symptoms of an ACL tear after a period of conservative treatment.
In recent practice, operative treatment for ACL tears is performed via arthroscopy to avoid injury to muscles and nearby tissue, and to lead to a quick recovery. Arthroscopic surgery also allows for better examination and repair of the meniscus than open surgery.