Your anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), a ligament in your knee, keeps your knee stable and allows for back and forth movement. If you’re an athlete, you can injure this ligament with rapid movements or impact. At Orthopedic Center for Sports Medicine in Metairie, Louisiana, Luis Espinoza, MD, William Sherman, MD, and their team treat ACL injuries to help you return to your sport with a full range of motion. For more information about ACL injuries and available treatments, call Orthopedic Center for Sports Medicine or schedule an appointment online today.
Your anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the ligaments in your knee. It extends diagonally across the center of your knee and allows you to move it backward and forward. It also helps keep your knee stable and prevents it from making certain unnatural movements.
ACL injuries are a common type of knee injury. They happen when your ACL tears or if you stretch it beyond its capacity. ACL injuries are especially common among athletes. If you play sports that require quick, sudden movements like football, soccer, volleyball, or basketball, you might get an ACL injury as you play. ACL injuries happen when you change direction rapidly, stop suddenly after moving quickly, land from jumping, or get hit with impact.
An ACL injury causes severe pain. Right after it happens, you can’t comfortably move your knee and must stop playing to seek care. Beyond sudden, severe pain, ACL injury symptoms might also include:
If you think you have an ACL injury, you need to get medical attention right away. These signs and symptoms could indicate an ACL injury, but you should visit the Orthopedic Center for Sports Medicine for an accurate diagnosis with X-ray or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Treatment for your ACL injury may involve several components. The team decides which treatments to use for your injury based on its severity and whether or not you have a tear in the ligament. Your treatment plan might include:
Physical therapy can be extremely effective for restoring your knee mobility after an ACL injury. If you’re not an athlete, your treatment may begin with several weeks of physical therapy to reduce pain and swelling.
Certain medications can ease inflammation and pain, like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
The team might give you a brace to wear around your knee to help stabilize it. They might also tell you to use crutches, so you don’t put your full weight on your injured knee.
You will likely need surgery to repair your ACL injury if you’re an athlete or if your knee frequently buckles from the injury. During ACL surgery, the team removes the damaged ligament and replaces it with a graft.
If you injure your knee and think it might be an ACL injury, call Orthopedic Center for Sports Medicine or book an appointment online right away.