ACL Specialist

Alta Orthopaedics -  - Orthopaedic Surgery

Alta Orthopaedics

Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine Specialists located in Santa Barbara, CA & Solvang, CA

ACL tears (anterior cruciate ligament) are common and devastating injuries in young athletes. When injuries such as this occur, Alta Orthopaedics can help you get back to sport and play. Their team of board-certified orthopaedic surgeons provides swift on-site diagnosis and will develop a treatment plan that fits your goals. If you need help with symptoms of an ACL injury, contact one of the Alta Orthopaedics offices in Solvang, Santa Barbara, or Oxnard, California. Call or book online today.

ACL Q & A

What is the ACL?

The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is one of four main ligaments that connect the bones in your knee. It attaches the back of your femur (thigh bone) to the front of your tibia (shin bone). The ACL helps prevent hyperextension of your knee and provides stability when you twist the joint.

The other primary ligaments in your knee are the:

PCL (posterior cruciate ligament)

The PCL attaches the front of your femur to the back of your tibia.

MCL (medial collateral ligament)

The MCL is on the inside of your knee. It serves as a stabilizer for your knee joint and prevents it from bending inward.

LCL (lateral collateral ligament)

The LCL is on the outside of your knee. It performs a similar role to the MCL but stops your knee from bending outward.

What injuries affect the ACL?

ACL tears are common, high-profile sports injuries that the Alta Orthopaedics team treats frequently. Tearing of the ACL usually affects athletes playing contact or collision sports, but it can also occur during other activities. ACL tears can occur in both men and women but are four to five times more likely to affect women.

An ACL tear typically occurs when you plant your foot and twist around. You may hear a popping sound in your knee at the time of injury or swelling shortly afterward. If you tear your ACL, you might also incur other injuries at the same time, such as MCL, PCL, or LCL tears or a torn meniscus. 

What symptoms do ACL injuries cause?

In addition to pain, the symptoms you're most likely to experience with an ACL injury are:

  • Loss of the knee's full range of motion
  • Swelling of the knee joint
  • Tenderness along the line of the joint
  • Discomfort or pain when walking
  • Feeling of instability in the joint

An ACL tear almost always causes significant swelling of the knee over the 24 hours following the injury.

How are ACL injuries treated?

Although your treatment can vary depending on your age and the kinds of activities you participate in, the Alta Orthopaedics team usually recommends bracing the knee and a course of physical therapy first.

Very young patients, competitive athletes, and anyone who leads an active lifestyle that requires them to pivot are likely to require surgical ACL reconstruction. There are many ways to perform ACL reconstruction surgery, so your provider at Alta Orthopaedics tailors your treatment to your specific needs.

If you have an ACL injury, get prompt and effective treatment by calling Alta Orthopaedics today or book an appointment online.