ACL and Ligament Injuries

Our team of experienced orthopedic surgeons offers you a range of options to manage your knee injury. First, we explain the details of your condition and answer any questions you and your family may have. Once you understand your condition, we work with you to develop a treatment plan. Whenever appropriate, we will recommend non-surgical treatment options to alleviate your pain and improve your function before resorting to surgery. We help you weigh the risks and benefits of all options both nonsurgical and surgical so you can choose a treatment plan that will be most appropriate and effective for you.

What is a ligament injury?

Ligaments are the tough, flexible tissues that connect two bones or cartilages or hold together a joint. The knee has four main ligaments: the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments and the medial and lateral collateral ligaments. When the knee is suddenly twisted or directly impacted, these ligaments can be injured.

  • Cruciate ligament injuries may respond to conservative treatment, although many require surgery. Our sports medicine surgeons at MedStar Orthopaedic Institute have significant experience and expertise in a number of surgical options and will discuss the best treatment choices with you.
  • Collateral ligament injuries are more likely to respond to nonsurgical treatments. However, severe injuries or ones that also involve the cruciate ligaments usually require surgery.

What is the ACL?

The anterior cruciate ligament (commonly called the ACL) is one of four main ligaments in the knee and essentially serves as the main stabilizer for the knee. It provides stability in the knee through protection of anterior translation (forward sliding movement of the knee), as well as rotational control. This allows individuals the ability to perform cutting and pivoting activities (suddenly changing direction when running and walking). Without an ACL, these activities are more difficult as the knee can continue to give way.

What is an ACL injury?

The most commonly injured of the ligaments is the ACL, and not just by athletes. Over 250,000 ACL injuries occur annually within the general population. ACL tears often result in surgery, extensive physical therapy, significant time away from recreational activities, and a likelihood of arthritis within 10 years.

What causes an ACL or ligament injury?

Most commonly, ACL tears and knee ligament injuries occur during sports, although they can happen to people who are not athletes as well. ACL tears are sometimes the result of impact and can also occur as a result of twisting injuries. The injury is most often the result of one of the following:

  • Falling
  • Twisting suddenly
  • Changing direction quickly

What are the symptoms of an ACL or ligament injury?

Symptoms of an ACL tear or ligament injury commonly include:

  • “Popping” sound or feeling in the knee
  • Knee pain
  • Swelling in the knee

How is an ACL injury diagnosed?

The orthopedic surgeons at MedStar Orthopaedic Institute are experts at diagnosing ACL injuries. Our initial exam generally includes:

  • Medical history evaluation – Your doctor will likely ask about how your knee pain first began and any other relevant medical history prior to your pain.
  • Physical exam – We will conduct a physical exam, during which your physician may ask about the location of your pain and examine the knee for irregularities.
  • Imaging tests – Scans, such as an MRI, may be done to accurately locate and view the injury and make a diagnosis.

How is an ACL injury treated?

The ACL cannot heal on its own, except in rare cases of a partial tear. However, different individuals tolerate a torn ACL differently. For many athletes, whether that is the “weekend warrior” or a professional, surgery is required. The orthopedic surgeons at MedStar will work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan. There are two main categories for surgical ACL repair, both of which can be done during anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction surgery at MedStar Orthopaedic Institute:

  • ACL reconstruction surgery
  • ACL repair surgery

 

Different patients fall into different categories of ACL surgery based on their age, anatomy, sports activities, and features of their ACL tear found in MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging). We do not take a one-size-fits-all approach, as some surgical methods are better for some types of ACL injuries versus others. Our surgeons customize our approach to your recovery to meet your unique needs.

 

If you believe you may be suffering from an ACL or ligament injury, call 202-295-0511 to schedule a consultation with one of our orthopedic specialists at MedStar Orthopaedic Institute. Our doctors have years of experience diagnosing and treating knee conditions and are pleased to offer comprehensive hip and knee care in the Washington, D.C. area.

Our Specialists

Sports Medicine

Evan H. Argintar, MD
Sports Medicine

MedStar Washington Hospital Center

MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital

MedStar Orthopaedic Institute – Brandywine
MedStar Orthopaedic Institute – Waldorf
MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center

MedStar Orthopaedic Institute - Lafayette Centre
MedStar Washington Hospital Center

MedStar Orthopaedic Institute - Lafayette Centre
MedStar Orthopaedic Institute – Alexandria
MedStar Orthopaedic Institute – Brandywine

MedStar Washington Hospital Center

MedStar Montgomery Medical Center
MedStar Orthopaedic Institute - Chevy Chase
William Postma, MD
Sports Medicine

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital
MedStar Orthopaedic Institute - Chevy Chase
MedStar Orthopaedic Institute – McLean

MedStar Orthopaedic Institute - Lafayette Centre
MedStar Orthopaedic Institute – Mitchellville
MedStar Washington Hospital Center
Melissa Ann Yadao, MD
Sports Medicine
PhonePhone: 866-767-1682

MedStar Orthopaedic Institute - Lafayette Centre
MedStar Orthopaedic Institute – Alexandria
MedStar Orthopaedic Institute – Lake Ridge

General Orthopedics

John P. Byrne, MD
General Orthopedic Surgery

MedStar Orthopaedic Institute – Alexandria
MedStar Orthopaedic Institute – Brandywine
MedStar Orthopaedic Institute – Waldorf
Dennis A. Carlini, MD
General Orthopedic Surgery

MedStar Orthopaedic Institute – Alexandria
MedStar Orthopaedic Institute – Brandywine
MedStar Orthopaedic Institute – Lorton
Shaun Kumar Khosla, MD
General Orthopedic Surgery

MedStar Orthopaedic Institute – Lake Ridge
MedStar Orthopaedic Institute – Lorton
MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center
Bruce Robert Knolmayer, MD
General Orthopedic Surgery

MedStar Montgomery Medical Center
Kevin McMahon, MD
General Orthopedic Surgery

MedStar Montgomery Medical Center
Edward C. Rabbitt, MD
General Orthopedic Surgery

MedStar Orthopaedic Institute – Alexandria
MedStar Orthopaedic Institute – Brandywine
MedStar Orthopaedic Institute – Waldorf
Jeffrey D. Sabloff, MD
General Orthopedic Surgery

MedStar Orthopaedic Institute – Alexandria
MedStar Orthopaedic Institute – Brandywine
MedStar Orthopaedic Institute – Waldorf

Locations

3800 Reservoir Road Northwest Washington, DC, 20007
Phone: 202-444-8766
18109 Prince Philip Drive, Suite 325 Olney, MD, 20832
Phone: 301-774-8958
25500 Point Lookout Road, Suite 250 Leonardtown, MD, 20650
Phone: 240-434-7483
106 Irving Street Northwest, Washington, DC, 20010
Phone: 202-877-6000
1120 20th Street Northwest, Building 1 South Washington, DC, 20036
Phone: 202-416-2000
13950 Brandywine Road, 2nd Floor Brandywine, MD, 20613
Phone: 301-856-1682
5454 Wisconsin Avenue, 11th Floor Chevy Chase, MD, 20815
Phone: 301-215-9423
6355 Walker Lane, Suite 501 Alexandria, VA, 22310
Phone: 703-971-3701
12825 Minnieville Road, Suite 203 Woodbridge, VA, 22192
Phone: 703-971-3701
9455 Lorton Market Street, Suite 200 Lorton, VA, 22079
Phone: 703-971-3701
6858 Old Dominion Drive, Suite 200 Mc Lean, VA, 22101
Phone: 202-444-8766
11325 Pembrooke Square, Suite 115 Waldorf, MD, 20603
Phone: 301-856-1682