Nevada Orthopedic & Spine Center
Orthopedic Surgery located in Henderson, NV & Las Vegas, NV
Contact sports come with a higher risk for athletic injuries, including tearing the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in your knee. Unfortunately, nearly half of all ACL tears are complete ruptures, which is why you need to get prompt treatment from the sports medicine specialists at Nevada Orthopedic & Spine Center. Their physicians have years of experience rehabilitating ACL tears, whether that means nonsurgical treatment or surgical ligament reconstruction. To get help for an ACL tear, call the office in Henderson or Las Vegas, Nevada, or book an appointment online today.
ACL Tear Q & A
What causes an ACL tear?
Your knee joint is supported by four ligaments that stabilize the bones. The ACL runs diagonally through the joint, connecting the thigh bone (femur) with the shinbone (tibia).
The ACL holds the shinbone in place, preventing it from sliding away from the thigh bone. The ligament also gives your knee rotational stability.
Most ACL tears occur due to movements that are common in sports such as basketball, football, and soccer, including:
- Making a sudden stop
- Changing direction quickly
- Landing a jump incorrectly
- Pivoting and sidestepping
- Stopping abruptly while running
- Overextending your knee while running
You can also end up with an ACL tear by taking a hit to the side of the knee during a football tackle.
What symptoms occur if I have an ACL tear?
Many people hear a popping sound when the ACL tears. You also experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Knee instability
- Loss of movement
- Difficulty walking
- Knee buckling
- Tenderness along the joint
The pain and swelling appear within six hours of your ACL injury. You may also sustain other injuries because the force that causes your ACL to tear frequently damages other parts of your knee.
How is an ACL tear treated?
You can immediately treat an ACL tear using the RICE protocol: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Resting prevents further injury, while icing, compressing the knee with an elastic bandage, and elevating your leg above your heart reduce swelling.
The treatment that’s best for your knee depends on the severity of the tear (partial versus complete), whether the joint is still stable, and your activity goals.
Nonsurgical treatment such as a brace, anti-inflammatory medications, and physical therapy may be enough if your knee is stable and you don’t plan to return to intensive activities.
If you have joint instability or you want to return to athletic activities or competitive sports, you will need surgery to regain optimum ACL strength and function.
ACL surgery involves reconstructing the ligament with a graft. Your provider uses a piece of tendon to build a new ligament. During your recovery, your provider develops a sport-specific rehabilitation program to strengthen your ACL and get you back in the game.
If you need help with an ACL injury or knee pain, call Nevada Orthopedic & Spine Center, or schedule an appointment online today.
Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tear (ACL Tear)