An anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear is a common injury among athletes, and it destabilizes your knee. At Denver Metro Orthopedics, P.C. in Englewood, Centennial, Lone Tree, and Aurora, Colorado, skilled orthopedic surgeon John Schwappach, MD, specializes in evaluating and treating ACL tears. With surgery, physical therapy, and nonsurgical home care, you can strengthen and stabilize your knee after the injury. To start treatment for an ACL tear today, reserve your appointment by phone or book online at any Denver Metro Orthopedics, P.C. location.
Your anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is a band of strong tissue connecting your femur (bone in your upper leg) to your tibia (one of the bones in your shin). This ligament prevents the tibia from sliding in front of the femur, and it works with other ligaments in the knee to prevent the joint from rotating.
It’s relatively easy to tear or overstretch your ACL while exercising or playing sports, especially if you twist or hyperextend the knee joint with force. You can also injure your ACL from direct contact, like being tackled in football or getting in a car accident.
The moment you experience an ACL tear, you may hear or feel a pop. Other symptoms include:
You should seek treatment right away if you think you have an ACL tear. At Denver Metro Orthopedics, P.C., Dr. Thon and Dr. Schwappach evaluate the joint with a physical exam, and they might recommend an X-ray or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan for a better view of the ligament itself.
They may also order an arthroscopy or stress test to assess the damage.
Treating an ACL tear usually requires both surgical and nonsurgical approaches in tandem. At Denver Metro Orthopedics, P.C., the providers aim to help you make a full recovery so you can use your knee as you did before the injury, and you have a better chance of restoring your full mobility if you’re a young athlete at the time of your injury.
For the nonsurgical portion of treatment, you should follow the rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) protocol. This controls pain and swelling, and wearing a knee brace can help stabilize the knee. Furthermore, Dr. Thon and Dr. Schwappach typically recommend physical therapy to strengthen your knee.
To repair an ACL tear, they perform minimally invasive ACL reconstruction surgery using an arthroscope. An arthroscope is a long, pencil-like camera with a light at the end that enters a joint through a small incision. The camera projects a live, high-quality image of the inner knee onto a nearby screen.
Through other small incisions, Dr. Thon and Dr. Schwappach work with small surgical instruments to replace the torn ligament with a tissue graft from elsewhere in your body. They harvest the graft from either your patellar tendon in the knee or your hamstring muscle in the back of your leg.
For a full assessment and expert treatment of your ACL tear, call Denver Metro Orthopedics, P.C., or reserve your appointment online today.