More than 200,000 anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries occur each year in the United States. Of those injuries nearly half result in surgery to repair the knee. ACL surgery is an extensive procedure used to restore knee function and mobility. However surgery is only the beginning to restoring the knee.
The majority of patients who undergo anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) surgery are given a knee brace after surgery. Knee braces are used for supporting the knee and maintaining its position during the healing process. If a patient were to choose not to wear a knee brace within the first few weeks after surgery, the entire procedure could be compromised if the knee were to twist or bend in an awkward motion.
A knee brace for ACL patients is not your average knee brace. Typically they’re much heavier and more complex than just a brace that you would otherwise slip on over the leg. ACL braces are sturdy and are used to keep the knee in a single position. As patients start to walk and place weight on the knee, the brace is very helping in distributing the weight properly.
One of the biggest reasons why orthopaedic surgeons provide knee braces to patients after ACL surgery is to protect them in case they fall. All patients are required to keep weight off the leg immediately following surgery and therefore many patients have to walk on crutches. This is no easy task and in the event of a fall the knee could be reinjured. A brace reduces the risk of re-injuring the knee in case a patient falls.
For this reason patients who are recovering from an ACL tear are asked to wear their knee brace as much as possible. Naturally patients need to take it off while performing exercises as part of their physical therapy, but the brace should remain on at all other times.
ACL tears are most common among athletes in football, basketball and soccer. For athletes who undergo ACL surgery and return to their sport, many wear a protective knee brace for added support and protection. If patients take all the precautions and fulfill their physical therapy requirements, they’ll likely regain the same mobility they had prior to the injury.
This article was researched and written on behalf of Orthopaedic Associates of St. Augustine. For Orthopaedic questions you may contact us at 1 Orthopaedic Place St. Augustine, Florida 328086. Our direct phone number is 904-825-0540.