The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the four main ligaments within the knee that connect the femur (thighbone) to the tibia (shinbone). A tear of this ligament can cause your knee to give way during normal physical use, such as walking or running.
If you tore your ACL or are showing signs that you may have, contact the ACL reconstruction surgeons at Gotham City Orthopedics for a consultation. We have 5 convenient locations in New York and New Jersey and we're available 24 hours every day, seven days a week.
ACL Tear Diagnosis
Before ACL repair and reconstruction is performed, our orthopedic surgeons need to properly diagnose the injury.
- First, the physician takes a detailed account of how the injury occurred from each patient in order to better understand the mechanism of the injury. It is important to understand each patient’s lifestyle and activity/job demands.
- The doctor will then perform a thorough physical examination. In many cases, ACL tears can be diagnosed with only the history obtained and the physical examination. Special tests such as the Lachman Test, Anterior Drawer Test, and Pivot Shift Test can help provide proof that an ACL tear has occurred.
- Finally, the patient will be referred for an MRI study to help evaluate the magnitude of the ACL injury and to further assess the knee joint to see if any other common injuries, such as meniscal tears, other ligament tears, and osteochondral fractures, have occurred.
If your ACL injury is severe and a complete tear has occurred, ACL reconstruction surgery will likely be the recommended treatment. Learn more about the procedure below, or contact our offices in NYC and NJ for an appointment.
ACL Tear Pre-Hab
Unless you sustained another significant knee injury simultaneously with your ACL tear, your sports medicine physician will refer you to physical therapy before your ACL repair surgery can be scheduled.
The biggest risk of performing an ACL reconstruction too early is developing arthrofibrosis, otherwise known as knee stiffness. Many patients who tear their ACL have a stiff, swollen, and painful knee when they first consult with their physician.
Once the diagnosis is confirmed, your doctor will likely put your leg in a special hinged knee brace, which will allow motion while providing stability to the knee. A few weeks of physical therapy will be required for you to improve your strength and regain your range of motion before surgery is scheduled.
ACL Reconstruction Surgery and Recovery
For most active individuals, ACL injuries are addressed with ligament reconstruction surgery. Our sports medicine surgeons will first discuss with you the different graft types: autograft (tissue is taken from a tendon around the patient’s knee—most commonly the hamstring tendons or the patella tendon) or allograft (tissue harvested from a cadaver’s knee or Achilles tendon). Your surgeon will then review the MRI study and discuss what other knee injuries need to be addressed surgically, and what can be expected postoperatively.
The procedure is a same-day, ambulatory case, meaning you will go home on crutches that same day. Our surgeons have perfected the ACL reconstruction surgery and pride themselves on their “plastic surgery” style closures and minimal incisions.
The Gotham City surgical team of coordinators will schedule your pre-operative medical clearance (if needed), coordinate post-operative appointments, and provide whatever prescriptions you might need. We will assist you every step of the way, so you can focus on healing.
ACL Post-Op Physical Therapy
Your ACL repair surgeon will typically start you on post-operative physical therapy one week after surgery. Range of motion and strength exercises, along with gait training, will be the early focus of your physical therapy. In many cases, you will begin a supervised running program at around 3 months after surgery and may be able to return to sports after around 6 months, depending on your graft type, fixation, and sport of choice.
Schedule an Appointment
The Gotham City Orthopedics team is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you are experiencing the excruciating symptoms of a torn ACL on a weekend, you don’t have to wait until Monday to get relief. Our sports medicine doctors can diagnose a torn ACL at any of our five convenient locations in New York and New Jersey. Contact us to receive the treatment you deserve.