dr hardy singh, raleigh north carolina best orthopedic surgeon for sports medicine injuries, athlete acl injuriesYour knee is constructed of bones and ligaments, and your ligaments serve as the glue that holds it all together to provide stability. There are two types of ligaments within your knee: the collateral and cruciate.

Collateral ligaments run sideways on your joint and provide sideways motion and support during unusual movements. Meanwhile, the cruciate ligaments are inside the joint and crisscross each other to form an “x” on the front and back of your joint. These ligaments control the back and forth motion.

Part of the cruciate family is the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). The ACL runs through the middle of the knee in a diagonal, helping to keep the tibia in place and provide stability.

The ACL can become damaged in a variety of ways:

  • Collisions
  • Sudden stops
  • Rapid change in direction
  • Incorrect jump landing
  • Deceleration while running

Athletes who play high impact sports, such as football and soccer, are most often susceptible to ACL sprains and tears.

Symptoms & Treatments

If you have injured your ACL, you will typically experience pain, swelling, loss of full range of motion, and discomfort when walking. Often, patients express that they hear a “popping” noise and felt like their knee couldn’t support them.

Patients should immediately seek the professional opinion of an orthopedic surgeon.  An orthopedic surgeon will be able to determine the correct level of treatment based on your specific needs. Treatments can range from non-surgical options, such as physical therapy, to ACL reconstruction surgery.

ACL Reconstruction

While surgery is not for everyone, most patients will need their ACL reconstructed. During ACL reconstruction, your torn ligaments are replaced with a tissue graft that encourages new ligament growth. It is an arthroscopic procedure, which means most patients have reduced pain, time in the hospital, and total recovery time.