ACL Tears

Is knee pain preventing you from leading a full and active life? Our minimally invasive regenerative treatments could help you enjoy your life the way you want to.

An ACL tear is an injury to the anterior cruciate ligament, which is one of the major ligaments in the knee.

ACL tears are common in people who play sports that involve suddenly stopping or changing direction or and jumping and landing, such as football, netball, basketball and skiing.

With an ACL tear you may hear or feel a ‘pop’ in the knee, and your knee may become swollen and painful when bearing weight.

 

What treatments does The Regenerative Clinic offer?

Our renowned medical team provides a range of treatments, from the traditional to the innovative:

Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy

This is an effective and well-researched procedure that’s a potential alternative to surgery. It takes advantage of the blood’s natural healing properties to reduce pain and improve joint function. It uses a specially concentrated dosage of platelets prepared from your own blood to repair damaged cartilage, tendons, ligaments, muscle and bone. Patients usually see their symptoms improve in one to two weeks of having the injections. Read more clinical evidence supporting PRP here.

AMPP® Activated Mesenchymal Pericyte Plasma (using Lipogems® technology)

A pioneering new treatment using your body’s own stem cells from a combination of Lipogems® and Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy to treat pain and inflammation. It harnesses natural repair cells removed from your body fat to target problems affecting discs, joints, tendons, ligaments and muscles.

The procedure takes around an hour and early results suggest an improvement for 75% of suitable patients. The minimally invasive procedure is a possible alternative to having an operation or can be used after surgery to help healing.

Further information on AMPP® and its benefits can be found here.

Steroid injections

Steroid injections are recommended if you’ve not had much success with the first-step approaches of painkillers, rest, stretching and physiotherapy.

 

What causes ACL tears?

Each knee has two anterior cruciate ligaments (ACL). These are strong bands of tissue that cross in the middle of the knee, connecting the thighbone (femur) to the shinbone (tibia) and stabilise the knee joint.

Injury occurs when stress is placed on the knee, through:

  • Suddenly changing direction or stopping quickly
  • Pivoting with the foot firmly on the ground
  • Awkwardly landing after a jump
  • Injury, such as receiving a hard knock to the knee

People who play sports such as football, netball, basketball and skiing are prone to ACL tears. Depending on the severity of the injury, the ligament may be stretched, or it could tear entirely.

You may also be more prone to getting an ACL tear if you’re female (due to differences in the anatomy of the knee joint), if you wear ill-fitting footwear and if you play sports on artificial turf.

 

What are the symptoms of ACL tears?

Symptoms will depend on the severity of the injury, but with an ACL tear you may:

  • Hear a pop or feel a ‘popping’ sensation in the knee
  • Feel severe pain and be unable to continue with the activity
  • Have sudden swelling in the knee
  • Not be able to move your knee as much
  • Not be able to bear weight on the knee

Multiple instances of ACL tears can increase your risk of developing osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is caused by the cartilage in the knee wearing away.

 

How are ACL tears diagnosed?

If you experience any symptoms that are associated with an ACL tear, you should seek medical attention immediately. The knee joint is made up of several bones, ligaments and tendons and it’s vital that you get an accurate diagnosis and treatment.

A doctor will examine your knee applying pressure to different areas to see where it hurts. In some cases, the doctor may refer you to have an:

  • X-ray – to see if there any other bone problems, such as a fracture, which could be causing the pain
  • MRI – using a magnetic field and radio waves a detailed image of the affected is created which can reveal subtle changes to the soft and hard tissues in the knee
  • Ultrasound – using sound waves an ultrasound can check for damage to the tendons, ligaments and muscles


What are the non-surgical options for ACL tears?

Initial treatment may include medications such as analgesics which help reduce the pain, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs – NSAIDS – which reduce the pain and inflammation and steroid injections which reduce inflammation and provide short-term relief.

Your doctor may recommend applying ice packs to the area for a few days. If you do this, it’s important to place a cloth between the ice and your skin to prevent you getting an ice-burn.

Wrapping an elasticated bandage around the knee and elevating your leg can also help reduce pain and swelling.

Your doctor may refer you to see a physiotherapist who will show you a series of exercises that:

  • Strengthens the leg muscles, particularly the hamstring muscles
  • Strengthens your core – helps, pelvis and lower abdomen
  • Teaches you the proper way to jump and land, to reduce further instances of ACL tears

It’s also recommended that you wear appropriate protection, such as padding when playing sports to help prevent injury.

Our expert team specialises in treating ACL tears using advanced non-surgical techniques including stem cell therapy, AMPP® Activated Mesenchymal Pericyte Plasma (using Lipogems® technology) and Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy.

 

What are the surgical options for ACL tears?

Surgery in conjunction with the regenerative therapies we offer can be used to treat an ACL tear.

You may need surgery if you want to continue playing sports, if more than one ligament is damaged or if the injury is causing your knee to buckle during everyday activities.

The type of surgery you’ll need will depend on the severity of the injury, but your surgeon may decide to perform an ACL reconstruction.

During an ACL reconstruction, the surgeon will remove the damaged part of the ligament and replace it with a piece of tendon, that is usually taken from another part of the knee.

Surgery is usually followed by an intense course of physiotherapy that aims to restore strength and functionality to the knee.

 

Why have a consultation at The Regenerative clinic?

Our experienced consultants will undertake a thorough examination exploring non-surgical and surgical treatments. They’ll also discuss your suitability for our state-of-the-art biological therapies.

 

Who will my consultation be with?

Your consultation will be with one of our spine specialists, Prof. Adrian Wilson, Mr, Rohit Jain, Mr. Arj Imbuldeniya, Mr. Sebastian Dawson-Bowling or Mr. Sam Heaton and will last approximately 30 minutes. On the day, or the day before you will be asked to attend for an MRI scan.

As well as undertaking an examination, our specialists will take details of your medical history and discuss your symptoms. They will also detail all your treatment options and cover their potential benefits and risks.

Our expert team comprises of highly experienced surgeons, sports medicine doctors and physiotherapists who are committed to delivering a high level of care and the correct treatment option so you can quickly get back to moving around.

The first step is to book a consultation for a thorough assessment.  Click here to make an appointment.

 

What is the autologous biological approach and when should it be considered?

Autologous translates as ‘from the same person.’ In brief, it involves using your own cells to encourage healing. The major benefits are that there is no chance of rejection, infection or contamination as you are using cells from your own body rather than a donor.

We offer a range of therapies based on this principle which can be considered if traditional treatments including surgery aren’t relieving your pain.

 

Clinical evidence

Biological treatments are pioneering procedures and we’re continuously monitoring and recording its effectiveness. Patients undertaking these treatments are asked to complete pre-operative and post-operative questionnaires.

The information obtained from these questionnaires allows us to monitor your progress and it also contributes to our evidence-based database and other global studies on biological treatments. All information gathered is anonymised.

 

 

 

 

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