ACL Tear Specialist

Pacifica Orthopedics

Orthopedic Specialists located in Huntington Beach, CA

When your anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is injured, you have about a 50-50 chance of it being a complete rupture. Drs. Emile Wakim and Robert Ahearn and the other providers at Pacifica Orthopedics treat mild ACL tears with conservative measures, but a complete ACL tear often requires surgery if you want to regain knee strength and stability. When you have an ACL injury, call the office in Huntington Beach, California, or book an appointment online for immediate, expert care.

ACL Tear

What is the ACL?

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) runs diagonally across the center of your knee, where it’s one of four ligaments responsible for stabilizing your knee joint.

The ACL prevents the tibia (shinbone) from sliding out from underneath the femur (thighbone). This important ligament also controls back-and-forth movement and provides rotational stability for your knee.

What causes an ACL tear?

Although you can sustain a torn ACL following direct contact with another person or object, such as when you’re tackled, most ACL injuries occur when you perform certain maneuvers.

The movements that cause an ACL tear include:

  • Suddenly stopping
  • Slowing down while running
  • Rapidly changing direction
  • Landing a jump incorrectly
  • Pivoting and sidestepping

Anyone can develop an ACL tear, but your risk is higher if you participate in sports such as basketball, skiing, soccer, and football.

What symptoms will I develop due to an ACL tear?

Following an ACL tear you may experience:

  • Pain and swelling
  • Loss of motion
  • Tenderness along the joint
  • Difficulty walking
  • Popping sound or sensation

About half of all patients who injure their ACL also sustain damage to the meniscus or other knee ligaments.

How do orthopedic doctors treat an ACL tear?

Diagnostic imaging such as digital X-rays, MRI, and ultrasound are performed in-house so you won’t have to travel elsewhere or wait a long time for results. Drs. Wakim and Ahearn quickly diagnose the location, extent, and type of ACL tear and recommend appropriate treatment:

Nonsurgical treatment

If your knee is stable and your tear is only mild or partial, the providers at Pacifica Orthopedics may recommend several types of treatment, such as activity modification, rest or temporary immobilization, and an individualized rehabilitation program.

A partially torn ACL typically takes about three months of rehabilitation. After that time, some patients continue to have knee instability, so they’re at risk for a recurring ACL tear.

Surgical intervention

If your ACL is completely torn, it won’t heal on its own. The ligament also doesn’t heal well even when the ends are sutured together. For this reason, Dr. Wakim may perform an arthroscopic reconstruction.

During ACL reconstruction, Dr. Wakim removes the injured ACL and replaces it with a tendon from your hamstring, patellar tendon or uses cadaver tendon.

Getting expert treatment from the team at Pacifica Orthopedics is essential for regaining knee strength and stability. To schedule an appointment, call or use the online booking feature.