Q. I’m looking forward to being active this summer, but I’ve torn my ACL playing basketball. What treatment options are there? Will I ever be able to return to sports?
A. The ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament, is a central ligament of the knee that provides stability to an athlete’s knee during running and cutting maneuvers. An injury to this ligament can be a potential source of disability for athletes or people with active lifestyles. Athletes with a torn ACL will complain of knee buckling or giving way.
Some sports, such as swimming and biking, have a low demand for ACL function and may be performed in spite of a torn ACL with appropriate rehabilitation. However, cutting or pivoting sports such as football, soccer or basketball will usually require reconstruction of the ACL to allow for a return to play.
Fortunately, the ACL can be reconstructed successfully as an outpatient procedure using your own tissue or tissue from a bone bank to make a new ligament. The new ligament will stabilize the knee and protect it from further damage to cartilage or the meniscus. Return to play is usually possible after an appropriate rehabilitation period.
Brett Sanders, M.D.
Center for Sports Medicine & Orthopaedics
2415 McCallie Ave.
Chattanooga, TN. 37404