Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears are common sports injuries, especially if you play sports like basketball or football. Reginald Alexander, MD, at LA Orthopaedic Specialists in Downtown Los Angeles, California, diagnoses ACL tears and offers personalized treatments to help you recover quickly and safely. If you think you have an ACL tear or another knee injury, call LA Orthopaedic Specialists or schedule a consultation online today.

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What is an ACL tear?

Your ACL is one of the ligaments that provides stability and flexibility to your knee. A tear is a severe sprain that splits the ligament into two separate pieces. You can also have a partial ACL tear, but partial tears are less common.

ACL tears are common sports injuries. You’re most likely to injure your ACL when you:

  • Change direction rapidly
  • Stop suddenly
  • Slow down while running
  • Land a jump incorrectly
  • Collide with another player

Women and girls are more likely to have an ACL tear than boys and men. Medical researchers believe this is due to structural differences in the pelvis, physical conditioning, and increased looseness in the ligaments.

What are the signs of an ACL tear?

When you have an ACL tear, you are likely to hear and feel a “pop” in your knee. You also develop sudden and severe pain, and your injured knee swells rapidly. 

While many patients can stand and walk within a few days, you might also feel like your knee is unstable or that the components of your knee shift. ACL tears also cause a reduced range of motion in your knee.

How is an ACL tear diagnosed?

LA Orthopaedic Specialists provides comprehensive exams to diagnose ACL tears. Your provider asks about your symptoms and what you were doing when you had the injury. 

In many cases, they confirm your diagnosis with an MRI, which also allows them to assess the severity of your injury.

How is an ACL tear treated?

LA Orthopaedic Specialists provides customized treatment plans to treat ACL tears. Depending on your condition, your provider might recommend physical therapy to improve your ability to extend and flex your knee and strengthen your quadriceps. 

They might also recommend wearing a brace to increase the stability in your knee or platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections to support the healing process. 

In some cases, you might need arthroscopic or traditional open surgery to repair your ACL and restore stability to your knee. LA Orthopaedic Specialists can use allografts from a donor or an autograft using one of your tendons to reconstruct your ACL. 

You can usually move independently without any assisted devices within four weeks. However, it can take up to nine months for you to reach your full recovery and return to training and competing in your sport. 

Call LA Orthopaedic Specialists or make an appointment online today if you’re concerned about an ACL injury.