The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) plays a vital role in the function and health of knees. Unfortunately, ACL injuries are commonly suffered by athletes in all sports. These injuries not only cause severe and lasting pain, but compromise the function of the knee, which will keep an athlete off the field or a worker away from his or her job until the injury has healed.

Because the human body cannot completely heal an ACL on its own, surgery is a vital part of the recovery process. Today, minimally invasive procedures allow for faster and more complete healing than ever, but the process begins with recognizing the symptoms of an ACL injury. By knowing the signs of this serious damage, you can find help from an experienced surgeon as soon as possible.

The Signs of ACL Injuries

acl-injury The knee functions through the complex use of multiple ligaments and tendons connecting the femur, tibia, and patella. Should one of these ligaments be harmed, the knee as a whole may not be able to function properly. Specifically, the ACL controls the extension of the knee and works to guide the knee’s rotation.

When the ACL has been damaged, multiple symptoms can result, all of which relate to the function of the affected knee. ACL injury symptoms include:

  • Knee instability while standing or walking
  • Pain on the outside and around the knee
  • Knee swelling
  • A popping noise is heard at the moment of injury
  • Knee movement limitations

Any of these symptoms can indicate an ACL injury. However, these can also be the result of many different injuries affecting the leg. As such, undergoing a diagnosis from an experienced medical professional will help you not only completely understand what injury is affecting you, but also create a proper treatment plan for your condition.

Getting Your ACL Healthy Again

ACL injuries can vary in severity and in the effect they have on a person’s life. Because there is such a wide variety of damage possible, treatments can change from patient to patient. Almost all ACL damage must first be treated with rest, ice, compression, and elevation (known as the RICE method) in order to reduce the most immediate effects. Afterward, an individualized treatment plan can begin.

For many, ACL reconstruction or repair surgery will be the only way to restore full knee function and end severe pain. During this process, a skilled ACL surgeon will use a tendon graft or replace it entirely with a new ligament depending on the severity of injury. Afterward, rehabilitative exercises and bracing will aid in the healing process.

Finding Help from an ACL Surgeon

If you are suffering from symptoms that you believe are caused by an ACL injury, or have been diagnosed with the condition, it is vital that you find a skilled ACL surgeon. Dr. Eric S. Millstein has provided skilled ACL surgery in Los Angeles for countless patients, helping both athletes and non-athletes get back on their feet for a healthy and productive personal and professional life. For more information on what treatments are available and to schedule an appointment, contact us online or call 310.595.1030.

Next, learn more about What To Know When Considering ACL Repair.