Knee Popping or ACL Injury
Knee popping or Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury is a common knee problem causing a popping noise with or without pain. Both the condition need physician’s examination, but a painless symptom may indicate that serious harm has not occurred. Even a noise-free popping needs to be examined properly to avoid further complications. Mostly, athletes and gym-goers are exposed to ACL injury due to a sudden change in direction or stop or landing or jumping while performing a heavy sports activity including football, basketball or skiing etc. ACL refers to a sprain or a tear in major knee ligament, which could be complete or partial.
There could be four types of symptoms occur in ACL injury including:
- A minor injury that may not cause severe pain or just a sore knee joint, while standing or applying pressure on the knee.
- Swelling may appear after 24 hours of the injury, which can be managed with some rest and physiotherapy sessions.
- Some may experience some problem in walking or a comparatively loose knee joint than normal.
- Reduced flexibility or knee movement may also occur after an injury.
Physical examination may include check-up for tenderness and swelling and any issue in free movement of the leg in different positions. However, some other tests also required to ensure any serious damage in ligament or the bone structure such as:
- Ultrasound is done to confirm injury in muscles, tendons or ligaments present in the internal knee structure.
- MRI or Magnetic Resonance Imaging is done to exactly measure the extent of injury in both soft and hard tissue in the knee.
- X-rays examination confirms a bone fracture
Normal injuries may be treated by physiotherapy and other non-surgical methods, but if a person is diagnosed with a torn ligament or bone fracture, surgery is needed to restore the knee structure. A normal ACL injury may be recovered by using first aid, knee braces, medicines or physiotherapy, depending on the severity of knee injury. But serious cases may require surgical intervention or knee restoration by replacing the tissues to help grow new ligament. Surgeons also check the graft’s strength to ensure its stability during stressed knee motions after surgery.
ACL reconstruction in India
The ACL is an important part of the knee to provide its stability. Over straining, twisting or bending may cause a tear in this ligament that joins lower leg and upper leg bone. Women are more susceptible to an ACL injury. ACL reconstruction surgery is required if the ligament is heavily damaged or completely torn. The surgical intervention to reconstruct the knee is minimally invasive needing a few tiny incisions. If ACL injury is accompanied by other complications such as PCL tear or meniscus tear, then surgery becomes necessary. The replacement tissue for reconstruction can be taken from a donor’s tendon or patient’s hamstring or tendon. The cost of ACL reconstruction surgery in India ranges from around USD $ 3500 to USD $ 4500, depending upon the hospital, surgeon, graft quality and fixing technique and the pre/post-operative procedures. This also includes mandatory post-surgery physiotherapy sessions to avail faster and good recovery.
Surgeons and hospitals in India follow standard tests to confirm ACL rupture including Pivot Shift Test, Anterior Drawer Test and Lachman Test. Once the injury is confirmed, proper counselling sessions are held with the patient and the hospital staff to answer all the queries and clarify all the doubts. In India, ACL reconstruction surgery has become the most sought-after surgical intervention in the recent past, due to the quality of surgeons and low cost. The success rate for ACL reconstruction in India is more than 90%. The patient may need 5 days of hospital stay and around two weeks stay outside the hospital for physiotherapy sessions. The patient may resume normal routine or sports activities after 10-12 months of the surgery.