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Can a damaged ligament be treated without surgery?

Q: I am a 32 years old man and my ligament got damaged while playing football 4 months back. An MRI scan revealed that the third ligament in my leg was torn. Is there any cure for this without surgery? Even if I get my leg operated, will I be able to play football again?

A:Here are some basic facts about ACL: The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) provides almost 90% of the stability to the knee joint. Of the four major ligaments in the knee, the anterior cruciate ligament and the medial collateral ligament are most often injured in sports. Reconstruction of a torn ACL is now a common procedure, with over 50,000 hospital admissions per year. ACL ruptures occur at a rate of 60 per 100,000 people per year. Today’s athletes have greater than a 90% chance of returning to their pre-injury level of sports participation. ACL reconstruction is a highly successful operation. With good rehabilitation, 90% to 95% of individuals who undergo this surgery can expect to return to full sports participation within six months. A young active athletic person like you should get your ACL fixed surgically. Yes you will be able to run and play football after the surgery provided you follow the proper post-operative Rehabilitation protocol. If you decide to avoid surgery your knee will feel unstable and you will not be able to participate in sports particularly ones, which require pivoting movements. Also overtime there will be more wear and tear in rest of your knee ligaments leading to their ultimate failure and possible development of early arthritis.

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