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ACL Injury

Comprehensive Musculoskeletal Care located in Scottsdale, AZ and servicing the greater Phoenix area
ACL Injury}

ACL Injury services offered in Scottsdale, AZ


The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is a vital part of your knee’s structure, so a damaged ACL could cause significant disability. If you suffer an ACL injury, visit board-certified orthopedic surgeon Timothy Kavanaugh, MD, and the team at AZ Ortho in Scottsdale, Arizona. They offer expert treatment, including surgical ACL repair and reconstruction. To restore your knee function following an ACL injury, call AZ Ortho or book an appointment online today.

What is the ACL?

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of several vital knee ligaments (tough, elastic tissues connecting two bones). Knees have four ligaments supporting and stabilizing the joint — two collateral ligaments and two cruciate ligaments. 

The anterior (ACL) and posterior (PCL) cruciate ligaments form an “X” shape inside your knee joint, with the anterior cruciate ligament holding your tibia (shin bone) in place and giving your knee joint rotational stability. 

What is an ACL injury?

Ligament injuries are called sprains. They can vary in severity from mild overstretching to severe extension and complete rupture (where the ligament tears in two or detaches entirely from the bone).

A ruptured ligament prevents you from using the affected joint. With an ACL injury, that means you may be unable to bear weight or rotate the knee.

What causes an ACL injury?

The knee ligaments are very strong and can support your body weight in a variety of positions, but under enough pressure, they sometimes give way. ACL injuries can happen in several ways, the most common being:

  • Sudden changes in direction
  • Landing awkwardly after a jump
  • Slowing too quickly when running
  • Stopping suddenly
  • Colliding with another person or object

ACL injuries are common in sports, especially those involving sudden direction and speed changes, such as football and soccer.

How do I know if I have an ACL injury?

ACL injuries often make a popping sound as the ligament gives way. You might also suffer an instant loss of stability in the affected joint or be unable to move your knee properly. You’re also likely to experience pain (which may be severe) and significant swelling and tenderness.

The AZ Ortho team can diagnose your injury by examining the knee and performing diagnostic imaging procedures such as X-rays, an MRI, or a CT scan.

How are ACL injuries treated?

An injury that doesn’t tear the ACL may recover with activity modification, anti-inflammatory medication, and physical therapy. However, a more severe injury might require surgery.

If the ligament has a partial tear, the AZ Ortho team might be able to repair it using minimally invasive arthroscopic techniques. A complete rupture will require ACL reconstruction surgery, which involves using a tissue graft to reattach the damaged ligament to the bone.

If you have symptoms of an ACL injury, don’t delay seeking expert treatment. Call AZ Ortho or book an appointment online today.

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