Depending on one’s stage in life and how active they are, both surgical and non-surgical options exist for the treatment of torn knee ligaments.
The ligaments of the knee, like most ligaments, aren’t capable of healing themselves; ligaments don’t possess their own blood supply, so surgical reconstruction and replacement is the only option for repair for most tears. However, less active or older people, can decide to rehabilitate a torn ligament non-surgically with lifestyle changes, and with therapeutic programs that focus on reinforcing the muscles around the knee.
Immediate treatment for knee ligament injuries include: rest and elevation; applying an ice pack to relieve swelling and bruising; using a bandage or brace to compress the area around the knee joint; and, taking pain relief medication.
Knee ligament tears may also be alleviated by specific exercise programs to strengthen the muscles around the knee joint; using a knee brace during exercise and sporting activities to protect the knee; and, limiting strenuous or vigorous activity.
If a knee ligament has been severely torn or ruptured, resulting in serious knee instability, then surgery may be the best option, especially if the patient is unable to comfortably engage in normal daily activities, such as walking, bending or twisting. Ligament replacement surgery may also be a viable option if non-surgical measures have proven ineffective.
A torn knee ligament can be restored by stitching it back together, or by having new tissue grafted onto it. During the surgical procedure to repair a torn knee ligament, the surgeon will replace the ligament with a strand of healthy tendon, generally from the hamstring or the kneecap. The tendon will be grafted into position to secure the joint together.
Surgery can help many patients to fully restore the function of their knee joint. It’s important to sit down with your physician to evaluate all the options and choose the one that is best for you.