Orthopedic Surgeons & Sports Medicine Physicians located in San Francisco, CA
Injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) are very common in sports that require jumping, cutting and twisting like skiing and basketball. If you experience an ACL injury, IASM in the Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco, California, can help you restore function and stability to your knee. Specializing in sports medicine and treatment for injuries to the knee, shoulder, elbow, and ankle, board-certified orthopedic surgeon Jeffrey Halbrecht, MD, offers both nonsurgical and surgical options for ACL injuries. To speak with Dr. Halbrecht about your ACL injury, call the office or book an appointment online today.
ACL Q & A
What is the ACL?
The anterior cruciate ligament is one of the major ligaments in your knee that connects your knee joint to your thigh bone, shinbone, and kneecap. The anterior cruciate ligament helps hold these bones together and adds stability to your knee. Injuries to the ACL are one of the most common types of knee injuries.
What is an ACL injury?
An ACL injury refers to a sprain or tear of the anterior cruciate ligament. ACL injuries frequently occur as a result of sudden hyperextension and forceful rotation of the knee joint. Activities that require sudden stops, jumping, and twisting commonly put you at risk of ACL injuries. Patients who experience an ACL injury typically hear or feel a pop in the knee when the initial injury occurs.
Additional symptoms include:
- Severe pain
- Pain or discomfort when walking
- Impaired range of motion
If you experience an ACL injury, you should not attempt to continue with any sports or physical activity and seek medical attention. In some cases, if ignored, the swelling and pain may subside. If this scenario occurs, you risk further damage to the cartilage of your knee, which, over time, can result in osteoarthritis. If you experience a sprain or tear your ACL, Dr. Halbrecht can help determine the extent of your injury and the right treatment for you.
How are ACL injuries treated?
Treatment for ACL injuries is very successful. Patients have a 90% chance of returning to their pre-injury level of activity. If you experience a minor or partial tear to your ACL, conservative nonsurgical treatment may be an effective option. Nonsurgical treatment may also be appropriate for patients willing to modify their activities to exclude jumping, cutting, and twisting. Nonsurgical treatment includes an immediate specialized rehabilitation program as well as a custom-fitted knee brace to be worn during activity.
If your ACL injury is severe or torn completely, surgical treatment is required to repair your damaged ligament. Dr. Halbrecht performs several surgical techniques arthroscopically.
Arthroscopic surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that allows Dr. Halbrecht to view and operate on the internal structures of your knee without making large incisions. Depending on your condition, Dr. Halbrecht might replace your damaged ACL with a graft from your knee, hamstrings, or a cadaver. In some cases, the ACL may be suture repaired if the ligament isn’t stretched and is still intact.
Dr. Halbrecht also provides ACL shrinkage, a less invasive option for minor or partial ACL tears. Dr. Halbrecht continues to pursue the latest advances in ACL treatment. He is currently conducting a study on the benefits of using a continuous passive motion machine after ACL reconstruction. To find out which treatment is right for you, schedule your visit by phone or online today.