How is an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury treated?
Although non-surgical treatment – such as knee-bracing and physical therapy – is an option, it is generally not the treatment of choice for young people. Young people who choose not to undergo surgical reconstruction tend to experience continued episodes of their knee “giving out” and long-term knee problems.
In general, doctors at Children’s Hospital Colorado recommend a knee operation to make a new ACL out of another tendon. There are several different choices for the new ACL, which your child’s surgeon will discuss with you.
An important consideration for ACL surgery in children and adolescents is that their bones are still growing. Bone growth comes from the growth plates, which are at the ends of the bones and increase the length of the bone. Traditional ACL surgery puts these structures at risk for causing a limb length discrepancy or a deformity. At Children's Hospital Colorado, we specialize in surgical techniques to minimize this risk and maximize a young athlete’s return to competitive sports and recreation.
Learn more about our Sports Medicine Program for Young Athletes that treats ACL injuries.