ACL Tear

Andrew Bulczynski, MD

Sports Medicine Physician & Orthopedic Surgeon located in Marina Del Rey, CA

A sudden popping sound in the knee is enough to fill any athlete with a sense of dread. Fortunately, Dr. Andrew Bulczynski at his practice in Marina del Rey, California, is available to determine whether you’ve torn an ACL, and get you back to the activities you crave. For more information on your recovery options from an ACL tear, call Dr. Bulczynski or book an appointment with him online today.

ACL Tear

What is an ACL injury?

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), one of four main ligaments in the knee, connects the femur to the tibia. It runs through the middle of the knee to provide stability and prevent the tibia from sliding in front of the femur.

While an ACL injury is a relatively common knee injury in patients overall, it’s especially prevalent in athletes who play fast-paced sports such as basketball, soccer, football, and skiing. Because many ACL injuries are also accompanied by meniscus damage, it’s important to seek medical attention right away if you think you may have an ACL injury.

How do I know if I have an ACL tear?

Most ACL injuries are accompanied by a loud, painful popping noise. In addition, some of the most common ACL tear symptoms include:

  • Excruciating pain
  • Inflammation and swelling around the knee
  • Loss of range of motion
  • Knee tenderness
  • Redness around the knee
  • Inability to put weight on your knee

High-impact sports are the most common causes of ACL injuries and tears. The ligament itself can be injured in several ways, including:

  • Twisting the knee
  • Changing direction quickly
  • Slowing down suddenly during a fast run
  • Stopping suddenly
  • Landing incorrectly after jumping
  • Colliding with another player

All sports players are at risk of an ACL tear, but studies show that ACL injuries are more common in female athletes than their male counterparts. This may have to do with muscle strength and neuromuscular control.

What are my treatment options?

Many ACL injuries can be healed through nonsurgical treatments such as physical therapy or bracing, which is highly recommended for elderly patients or those who do not exercise frequently. However, a full ACL tear cannot heal on its own without surgery and must be examined right away.

Once Dr. Bulczynski performs imaging tests — an X-ray, MRI, or ultrasound — to diagnose your ACL tear, he will likely need to rebuild the ligament entirely, as most tears cannot be repaired through stitching.

Dr. Bulczynski may even recommend a tissue graft, which gives your new ligament space to grow and rebuild. The procedure itself is done with an arthroscope, a small camera commonly used in orthopedic surgeries, to rebuild your ACL in the least invasive way possible. Minimally invasive arthroscopic procedures typically lead to shorter recovery times in patients.

For more information on ACL tears and injuries, schedule a consultation with Dr. Bulczynski or book an appointment online today.