Dear Doctor K: I tore my ACL. Is surgery inevitable?
Dear Reader: The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is a band of tissue that runs through the middle of the knee joint and keeps the shinbone from sliding forward past the thighbone. The ACL can tear during a sudden or awkward twist, turn or stop. More often than not, it’s these non-contact injuries that injure an ACL. Between 100,000 and 200,000 ACL injuries occur each year in the United States.
Women are more vulnerable to ACL injuries than men, but it’s not clear why. The anatomy of a woman’s knee is different from a man’s. When a woman pivots or stops suddenly while running, her knee is bent more inward than a man’s. This puts more strain on the ACL.
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