Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) sprain or tear is known to be one of the most common knee injuries. Athletes are more likely to suffer from this injury. Surgery may be necessary in some cases to restore full function following an ACL tear. Nearly half of all ACL injuries occur along with damage to other knee structures such as meniscus or articular cartilage.
Dr. Steven Thomas and Dr. Gregory Bigler are board certified orthopedic surgeons providing treatments for ACL injuries and various other sports injuries. Wherever possible, Dr. Thomas and Dr. Bigler will minimize or avoid surgery to deliver conservative solutions. They provide ACL tear treatments to patients in Las Vegas, Nevada and surrounding locations.
The ACL injury may occur due to any of the following reasons:
- Slowing down while running
- Stopping all of a sudden
- Switching direction rapidly
- Landing incorrectly from a jump
- Getting into a collision or direct contact
Various studies have revealed that female athletes are at a higher risk of sports specific ACL injuries due to the differences in their muscular strength and structural and hormonal makeup.
When an ACL injury occurs, the patient may hear a popping sound and may feel that the knee is giving way. Other common symptoms include:
- Swelling and pain within 24 hours
- Range of motion loss
- Discomfort while walking
- Tenderness along the joint line
The orthopedic surgeon will be able to diagnose most ligament injuries with a detailed physical examination of the knee. Imaging tests may be ordered to confirm the diagnosis of ACL injury.
While a torn ACL cannot heal without surgery, elderly patients or those with very low level of activity may benefit from non-surgical treatment. This can be recommended if the overall stability of the knee is still preserved.
A brace may be recommended to protect the knee against instability. The treatment provider may also prescribe crutches to further protect the knee and keep the patient from putting weight on the injured knee.
Once the swelling subsides, a customized rehab program including physical therapy can be started. The therapist will advise specific exercises that can restore knee function and provide strength to the leg muscles that support it.
An ACL tear cannot normally be stitched back together. Ligament reconstruction must be performed to repair the ACL and restore stability to the knee. The surgeon will replace the torn ligament with a tissue graft, which enables a new ligament to grow. Re-growth is a prolonged process, which can take about six months or more before full function is restored.
The surgeon will perform the procedure to rebuild an ACL using an arthroscope. This will involve small incisions, less pain, less time spent at the hospital, and reduced downtime. ACL reconstruction is generally performed with a certain delay to allow for the resolution of the inflammation. Board certified orthopedic surgeons Dr. Thomas and Dr. Bigler receive patients from Las Vegas, Nevada and nearby areas for ACL injury repair.
If you would like to schedule an appointment or learn more about the Knee and Shoulder Institute procedures & treatments performed by Las Vegas, Nevada board certified surgeons Steven C. Thomas, MD and Gregory T. Bigler, MD. call (702) 933-9393; Physical Therapy (702) 933-9394