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Deciding On ACL Surgery: What Should You Consider When Determining Whether Surgery Is The Best Option For You?

The anterior cruciate ligament in your knee connects the front of your kneecap to your shin, and it provides your knee joint with stabilizing support. Unfortunately, this ligament can tear completely during physical activity, making your knee unstable — it's likely to twist and give out whenever you turn your knee.

However, it's still possible to walk with a torn ACL. The ligament isn't necessary for straight-forward motion like walking, since it involves very little rotation in your knee joint. If you're thinking of repairing your ACL and you're able to walk without pain, you may be wondering if it's worth it. To help you make your decision, read on to learn about what should consider when you're deciding whether or not to get ACL surgery.

Types of Sports You Play

If you want to continue playing sports that require any turning movements of your knee, like soccer, basketball or martial arts, then ACL repair surgery is almost always a good idea. Without repairing your ACL, any turning movements can cause your knee to give out while you're playing, and this can result in further damage to your knee — other ligaments in your knee may be torn, or you may tear your meniscus, which is the cartilage in your knee that provides a cushion between your leg bone and your shin bone.

Your Career's Physical Requirements

Similarly, it's also often a good idea to undergo ACL surgery if you have a job that requires a lot of physical activity. Jobs that require a lot of lifting such as working in a warehouse or working in construction require you to be able to make full use of your knee. When you have a torn ACL, turning your knee while carrying a heavy object can make it give out. This can be extremely dangerous, since whatever you're carrying will fall to the ground.

Other Damage Done to Your Knee While Tearing Your ACL

When someone tears their ACL, the twisting motion of the knee sometimes tears the meniscus as well. Meniscus tears often result in chronic knee pain, which can make it difficult to walk. A meniscus tear can be repaired at the same time you undergo ACL repair surgery, making it convenient to repair both at once. If you tore your meniscus in addition to tearing your ACL, then undergoing both surgeries at once is often a good option in order to prevent pain.

Overall, the decision of whether or not you should have ACL repair surgery depends on the level of damage done to your knee and how willing you are to modify your lifestyle. If you're willing to give up impact sports or switch to a career that requires only light physical activity, then choosing to treat your ACL tear with physical therapy instead of surgically repairing it may be a good option. If you want to continue a physical job or continue playing sports, however, then ACL repair is usually recommended in order to reduce the risk that the activity will cause further damage to your knee. For people who have chronic knee pain due to a torn meniscus, surgery is usually a good option to repair the meniscus along with the ACL.

Above all, make sure you consult with your doctor when you're trying to determine if ACL repair surgery will be worth it for you. Your doctor can help you determine how much risk you're at of future damage to your knee based on your desired activity level, which can make you help a more informed decision about whether or not ACL repair is the right route for you.

Contact your doctor to learn more about ACL repair.