Most cases of ACL injuries occur in young patients as a result of indirect trauma to the knee during sports.
After an ACL injury, mild symptoms may appear such as mild joint pain, swelling, inflammation and a feeling of instability and knee failure (mainly in torsion-trimming-deceleration activities).
If an ACL injury is not diagnosed (in time), will result in repeated episodes of joint failure, including femoral-tibial subluxation mainly during trimming-jump-deceleration maneuvers. Subluxations under the influence of body weight, can cause secondary joint damage (meniscal, chondral and capsule-ligamentous lesions), increasing the degree of joint laxity or softening and conditioning a progressive joint deterioration that can be detected in radiographic studies (flattening off the condyle, subchondral sclerosis, joint impingement and osteophyte formation), although radiographic changes are usually 'delayed' with respect to symptoms and arthroscopic findings.
The Main Goals of Treatment after an ACL Injury:
- Restore joint function (stability and kinematics) in the short term
- Prevent the appearance of degenerative alterations in the long term
The most appropriate treatment will be decided in accordance to the patients age; in addition the degree of instability of the knee, the association of other lesions (ligamentous, meniscal, chondral), level of activity of the patient and their functional expectations will be taken into account.