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ACL Tear

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears are common in athletes of all ages. Annually more than 200,000 ACL injuries occur in the US. The majority of ACL tears are caused by noncontact injuries. 50% of ACL tears are accompanied by damage to other knee structures including the meniscus or articular cartilage.

The knee is a complex joint that bears body weight and is vital to movement. It is composed of three bones – the thigh bone or femur, the shin bone or tibia, and the kneecap or patella. The patellar tendon connects the kneecap to the tibia. Other tendons connect muscles with bones. The muscles and tendons allow knee movement.

Four ligaments hold the bones together – 2 collateral ligaments and 2 cruciate ligaments. Both the cruciate and the collateral ligaments stabilize the knee during range of motion from extension to flexion. Additionally, the menisci are tough pieces of cartilage in the knee that act as shock absorbers and distribute weight evenly to improve stability. There are two in each knee, medial and lateral.

The ACL together with the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) and meniscus are the main knee stabilizers. The cruciate ligaments connect the shin bone to the thigh bone. The collateral ligaments connect the thigh bone to the fibula (the smaller shin bone) and the tibia on either sides of the knee.

ACL tears frequently occur in sports like soccer, basketball, football, tennis, skiing, and any sport that involves cutting and pivoting, requires a sudden change of direction, a rapid stop or sudden deceleration, jumping or landing abnormally, or a direct blow to the knee. However, even non-athletes can tear the ACL if there is enough force from twisting and hyperextension. 

Most patients report hearing and feeling a sudden pop and giving way of the knee. Other symptoms include instability, pain, swelling, loss of range of motion, and difficulty walking or standing.

The board-certified knee surgeons at LALL Orthopedics + in Illinois, New Jersey, and Philadelphia will review your medical history, inquire about how you injured your knee, your pain and other symptoms; and conduct a physical exam including testing the injured knee’s range of motion, stability, and strength.

They will also evaluate the knee for associated injuries to other ligaments and the meniscus. Frequently an ACL tear occurs along with a medial collateral ligament tear or injury to the meniscus. Our team will order x-rays to rule out fractures and an MRI to reveal soft tissue damage. MRI imaging is the primary method to diagnose an ACL tear. Knee arthroscopy may be recommended to evaluate the tear and differentiate chronic and partial tears.

Treatment may be nonsurgical or surgical. The goal is to stabilize the knee and restore knee function to meet the patient’s needs and athletic demands. Non-surgical treatment options consist of cutting-edge regenerative medicine techniques such as Stem-Cell Therapy and Platelet-Rich Plasma injections. Surgical options include minimally-invasive ACL repair or reconstruction.

Dr. Ajay C. Lall is a former dual sport NCAA collegiate athlete (football and track & field), American board certified, triple fellowship-trained expert orthopedic surgeon who specializes in hip arthroscopy, robotic hip replacement and cutting-edge regenerative medicine such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and Stem-Cell therapy. He treats non-athletes and athletes at all levels of play from collegiate to professional to the Olympic level. Dr. Lall is a world-renowned orthopedic surgeon who cares for all patients like family. Contact LALL Orthopedics + to schedule a consultation, receive the correct diagnosis, and undergo state-of-the-art treatment options.

At a Glance

Ajay C. Lall, MD, MS, FAAOS

  • Board Certified – Orthopedic Surgery
  • Triple Fellowship Trained
  • Performs over 750 Surgeries Per Year
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