ACL Injury Overview
The knee joint is stabilized by four major restraints including the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), medial collateral ligament (MCL), and posterior lateral corner (PLC) complex. The anterior cruciate ligament is in the front of the knee joint (anterior) and crosses (cruciate) in front of the PCL. The main function of the ligaments is to prevent the bone in the leg (tibia) from moving forward relative to the bone of the thigh (femur). The ACL also contributes to the stability of the knee with rotational movements or twisting.
The ACL is the most commonly torn ligament in the knee. In many cases, this is associated with athletic participation, but may also happen with certain other traumatic injury patterns to the knee. At the time of injury some patients report hearing a pop, experience pain in the knee, and note swelling of the knee joint. Due to the environment of the ligament and the nature of injury, the ACL typically does not heal on its own. However, certain patients can be treated with rehabilitation and strengthening of the muscles around the knee without surgery. This is recommended for patients with a lower activity level and those of advanced age. In younger, active patients surgery is usually recommended to help patients get back to their level of pre-injury activity. Dr. Boykin specializes in the treatment of ACL injuries for patients in Asheville, Arden, Fletcher and surrounding communities.