The knee will become unstable when the various structures of the knee are injured, torn, or degenerated. There is a very complex yet intricate interplay between the different structures of the knee, such as the tendons, ligaments, meniscus and muscles, and when any of these are injured, the whole knee becomes out of sorts. Ligament injuries are one of the common disruptions to this balance. The four major ligaments of the knee are the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), the medial collateral ligament (MCL), and the lateral collateral ligament (LCL). Injuries that damage the meniscus and cartilage can also injure these ligaments. Once injury to ligaments occurs, whether by trauma or by wear and tear, the other structures will be affected, and over time, the injury will lead to degeneration of the knee joint and arthritis. The ligaments become lose with injury, and similar to a stretched out rubber band, they lose their tautness. When injury to one ligament occurs, as in the case of a torn ACL, it is not uncommon that some of the other ligaments are injured as well.
Surgery is often resorted to for ligament injuries. However, surgical cutting and removal of important knee structures actually adds to the instability, which boosts the degenerative process. Regenerative Orthopedics is a non-surgical option capable of repairing torn and injured ligaments. The treatment strengthens the loose ligaments and restores the normal motion back to the knee, and resolves the pain too. Remember that it is very likely that more than just one ligament or joint structure is affected. Therefore, all of the affected structures need to be treated, or otherwise the knee will remain unstable, and the cycle will continue. A comprehensive treatment will address all of the ligament attachments to ensure that the knee will be strong and stable. Surgery is necessary when the ligament is completely torn, but the majority of cases are partial tears, and Regenerative Orthopedics is effective at repairing these ligaments, and stabilizing the knee once the ligaments are repaired.
The anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments help stabilize the knee, and prevent excessive forward and backward movement. When these ligaments are injured, the knee may feel like it is loose, because these ligaments are powerhouses at keeping the knee stable. Pain with injury to these ligaments is often felt at the back of the knee. Even after the ACL ligament is repaired surgically, knee instability can occur, and there may be a feeling of looseness or a sensation that the knee can still give way. ACL reconstructive surgery works for many patients, but others experience continued symptoms.
We see patients in our clinic who have had ACL surgery, and are concerned because their symptoms are keeping them from doing the sports and activities they want to do. They thought for sure once they had the ACL surgery that they would be back to doing what they were doing before the surgery, but they can’t. Other patients suffer from post-surgical complications and are looking for answers and a solution to their ongoing pain.
Athletes want to get their knee repaired as quickly as possible, and often resort to surgery with this in mind. But research suggests there are high levels of failure rates to restore stability in ACL repairs, and many of the patients are unable to return to their previous level of sport. Surgical ACL reconstruction also accelerates the degeneration of the knee. Researchers have found that those who have had ACL reconstruction have an advanced risk for arthritis, as well as higher long-term risk of requiring a knee replacement. But how many people does this really affect? Unfortunately, it’s not just a few. Researchers show that the failure rate is 10-25%. The problems of knee instability following an ACL reconstruction surgery can be severe enough to require repeat surgery.
Fortunately, there are other options besides ACL surgery or even repeat surgery. In our opinion, a better solution to repair a stretched out, loose, torn, or injured ligament, is Regenerative Orthopedics. This treatment approach strengthens and heals the injured ligament in a non-surgical fashion, restoring the stability of the knee. Avoid the unsatisfactory outcome of incomplete healing and repair, and seek a consult with a clinician familiar with Regenerative Orthopedics, such as Stem Cell Therapy, PRP, and Prolotherapy, with the goal of restoring normal ligament function and getting you back quickly to performing the sport and activity you love.