The anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, is one of four main ligaments of the knee. ACL injuries are common knee injuries, especially among athletes. These injuries involve a tearing or overstretching of the ligament, and tears can be partial or complete.
Causes of ACL injuries
Ligament tears like ACL injuries usually happen during sports or other physical activities that put pressure on the knee. They may occur if you:
- Pivot your body while your foot is planted
- Stop suddenly
- Land badly from a jump
- Receive a direct hit to the knee
- Change direction very suddenly
ACL Tear Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of ACL injuries are immediate and may include:
- Pain in the knee, especially when putting weight on it
- A popping sound on injury
- Feeling that the knee isn’t stable
- Swelling, sometimes occurring a few hours after the injury
- Limited range of motion
Preventing & Treating ACL Ligament Tears & Injuries at Dignity Health
If you’re an athlete or participate in activities that put your knees at risk, you may reduce the risk of an ACL or ligament injury by warming up and stretching before the activity. During your regular workouts, focus on strengthening the muscles around your knees, practice landing jumps safely, and incorporate balance training.
ACL injury treatment and prevention starts with the RICE approach:
- Rest your leg/knee
- Ice your knee
- Compress with a compression or elastic wrap
- Elevate (raise) your knee
After the initial pain and swelling decrease, our treatment most often continues with rehabilitation exercises, usually provided by one of our experienced physical therapists, and a knee brace for support.
If you are an athlete, are very active, or have more damage to your knee, your doctor at Dignity Health may recommend surgery to repair the ACL injury. During this procedure, a surgeon replaces the damaged part of the ACL with a healthy piece of tendon from another part of your leg or from a tissue bank.
The surgery is performed arthroscopically. A scope passes through a very small incision. Your surgeon uses this scope to see the ligament, and then uses specialized instruments to make the repairs.
Our exceptional orthopedic services are recognized throughout Northern California. See one of our trusted orthopedists or sports medicine specialists today for the latest care.
Dignity Health treats knee conditions and injuries like ACL ligament tears in Sacramento, CA and surrounding areas.
Take the Next Step
If you think orthopedic surgery may be the solution for your pain, call Dignity Health in Sacramento at (916) 851-2511 or request an appointment online.