An ACL tear is one of the most dreaded sports injuries, famous for bringing down professional athletes and ending sports careers. For this serious injury, you need a highly-qualified, experienced specialist like orthopedic surgeon Dr. Eric S. Millstein in Century City, California. He’s an expert in ACL reconstruction and has been very successful in helping patients recover from a variety of knee injuries. To learn more about ACL surgery or other treatments, call Millstein Orthopedics or schedule a consultation online.
The ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament, is one of the most commonly injured ligaments in the knee. It’s a thick cord about the size of your index finger, and it sits right in the middle of your knee. The ACL provides support for lateral movements and quick bursts of speed.
When the ACL is torn, it unravels and can’t heal on its own. Tears can be partial or complete, and about half of all ACL injuries occur along with damage to other parts of the knee, including articular cartilage, the meniscus, or other ligaments.
The risk of an ACL injury is higher in people who participate in sports with sudden stops or changes in direction, like football, soccer, basketball, tennis, and skiing.
Women are more likely than men to experience an ACL injury. Studies suggest this is due to differences in physical conditioning, muscular strength, and neuromuscular control.
Additionally, 70% of ACL injuries occur through non-contact movements such as pivoting, sidestepping, or awkward landings. The other 30% of ACL injuries occur from direct impacts, such as from a forceful tackle on the outer side of the knee.
Many people feel a “pop” at the time of the injury, some describing it as traveling up their body and feeling it in their core. This is followed by pain and swelling around the knee over the next 24-48 hours. Other symptoms of an ACL tear might include:
The ACL is a unique ligament that doesn’t heal when two torn pieces are stitched together. Therefore, a new ligament must be created from a tissue graft — and this is called ACL reconstruction.
The surgery takes less than two hours, and anesthesia and a leg nerve block prevent you from feeling any immediate postoperative pain.
Dr. Milstein has extensive experience with all types of grafts for ACL reconstruction as well as revision ACL reconstruction, which is performed when an initial ACL reconstruction surgery has failed. He can determine what works best for your knee and create an individualized ACL surgery treatment plan.
To book a consultation, call Millstein Orthopedics or schedule an appointment online.