ACL Tear

Dr. James - Orthopaedic Surgeon in Singapore

Medically reviewed by Dr. James Tan

Table of Contents

    What Is an ACL?

    The ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament, is a ligament in the knee that joins the thigh bone (femur) to the shin bone (tibia). Its main function is to prevent the shin bone from moving forward excessively below the thigh bone. The ACL also acts as the main stabilizer in the knee. When the ACL is injured, it is called an ACL tear injury. ACL tears may be quite painful and can get aggravated if not properly evaluated and treated by a doctor. If you suspect that you are suffering from an ACL tear, it is recommended to visit a healthcare clinic or hospital to get it evaluated and treated accordingly.

    Causes and Risk Factors of ACL Tear Injury

    ACL tears are often the result of sports activities involving sudden stops, jumps, or changes in direction. Factors increasing the risk include high-impact sports participation, gender (with women at higher risk due to anatomical differences), and physical condition.

    Types of ACL Injuries

    acl tear diagram

    Image Credit: Cleveland Clinic

    • ACL tear injuries can be divided into three main categories:
      • Grade 1: The ACL has suffered minor trauma but it still provides the knee with effective stability.
      • Grade 2: The ACL has been stretched out further to the point that it is partially torn.
      • Grade 3: The ACL has suffered extensive trauma causing it to be completely torn, and hence unable to provide stability to the knee joint.

    ACL tears are often confused with torn meniscus. To confirm your diagnosis of a particular grade of sprain and see if you have any other types of knee pain or injury, your doctor might call for an X-ray or MRI of your knee and provide the best plan of treatment for you.

    Visit our torn meniscus treatment page for more information on the causes, diagnosis and treatment options at Ray of Health.

    ACL Tear Symptoms and Diagnosis

    The doctor will carry out an initial evaluation of your injury and conduct a physical examination that will involve moving the knee and leg at different angles to assess the location and nature of injury. Furthermore, the doctor may order imaging tests like an x-ray, MRI, or ultrasound scan to confirm the diagnosis. Once the diagnosis is complete, the doctor may suggest non-surgical or surgical treatment options depending on the individual case.

    In some cases, the doctor may order an arthroscopy in which a tiny camera is inserted into a small incision on the knee. The camera allows the doctor to view the actual injury site and suggest treatment accordingly.

    Typical signs and symptoms of an ACL tear include:

    • You can hear a popping sound of the ligament rupturing when the injury occurs.
    • Pain starts immediately after the injury.
    • The knee starts to swell within hours.
    • It becomes difficult or almost impossible to walk.
    • You feel pain in the knee while standing or putting weight on the leg.
    • Your knee may feel unstable or loose at the joint making daily activities difficult
    • You may lose your range of motion in the knee.

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    Find ACL Tear Treatment in Singapore

    If you are dealing with chronic knee pain, you may have a knee injury. Whether you are a serious athlete or just happened to move the wrong way one day, you might have torn or sprained your ACL. As soon as you start dealing with knee pain, it is essential to visit a doctor and get examined properly so the ACL tear treatment can commence. If left untreated, an ACL tear can lead to other complications, stressing the need to seek knee pain treatment as soon as possible.

    While proper knee treatment can help you get rid of pain even in the most severe cases, it is essential to note that these injuries won’t heal on their own.

    Looking to get treated for ACL tear in Singapore? We are ready to help! The orthopaedic doctor here at Ray of Health will diagnose your issue and create a customised treatment plan to get you feeling like your own self again. We also offer other orthopaedic treatment plans for heel pain and rotator cuff tears.

    Why suffer in pain for another day? Reach out to us online, call +65 6235 8781, or chat with us on WhatsApp at +65 8028 4572. You can also talk to us by clicking the button below.

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    Locations

    Camden Medical

    1 Orchard Boulevard, #09-06

    Singapore 248649

    Mount Alvernia Hospital

    820 Thomson Road

    Medical Centre D #05-60

    Singapore 574623

    Treatment Options for ACL Tear Injuries

    Depending on the type of ACL tear and other factors such as the age and activity level of the individual, there are two main treatment modalities, non-surgical and surgical options.

    Non Surgical Treatment Options

    If you suffer from an ACL tear and the doctor feels that it can be treated through non-surgical treatment options, he may recommend the following:

    • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce pain and swelling.
    • Physiotherapy strengthens the leg and thigh muscles and improves the range of motion of the knee. It also helps to increase the knee stability.
    • RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) protocol includes giving your knee rest to heal, applying ice on the affected knee several times a day for 20 minutes each, wrapping the knee in a pressure bandage, and elevating the knee above the heart while lying down. All these activities can help reduce pain and swelling and aid in fast recovery.

    Surgical Treatment Options

    In some cases of an ACL tear, the doctor may recommend ACL reconstruction surgery. An ACL reconstruction surgery in Singapore comprises the process in which an arthroscope or tube along with thin surgical instruments are inserted through tiny incisions on the knee. During this procedure, the doctor removes the torn ACL from the knee and replaces it with a healthy tendon from another part of the knee or from a donor. In very few cases of partial tears, the ACL may be stitched back together through an ACL repair surgery in Singapore. The ACL tear surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that is performed by an orthopedic specialist or surgeon.

    What are the possible complications of an ACL tear?

    An ACL tear, if left untreated, can cause various other complications such as increased knee instability, knee movement restriction, increased risk of arthritis, and muscle weakness. All these complications have the risk of becoming chronic conditions. Therefore, a timely visit to the doctor’s clinic and getting adequate treatment is crucial to ensure that such complications could be minimized or avoided altogether.

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    The most common cause of an ACL tear is when the ACL is torn during sports activities such as basketball, football, and rugby.

    About the Author

    Dr. James - Orthopaedic Surgeon in Singapore

    Dr James Tan C H

    Dr James Tan is a highly skilled orthopaedic surgeon in Singapore who has more than 10 years of experience in sports injury surgery and exercise medicine. Apart from partnering with the industry to pioneer advanced and proven treatment techniques, Dr Tan has treated athletes from the Singapore National Teams and professional footballers from the Singapore Premier League and the Young Lions. He is a member of the elite Asian Shoulder and Elbow Group and a founding member of the Singapore Shoulder and Elbow Surgery Society.