ACL Tears

Mariano Rivera, the star pitcher of the Yankees, and Derrick Rose, the top point guard in the NBA, both recently tore the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) which is the main stabilizing ligament of the knee. Their notoriety has thrust the importance of the ACL into the national headlines but for thousands of athletes all over the country an ACL tear is a common and serious injury to their own knees.
We are the Team Physicians for Cal State Northridge (CSUN), Antelope Valley and Mission Community Colleges. In addition, Chaminade and Milken High Schools as well as the Lancaster Jet Hawks which is the Single A affiliate of the Houston Astros professional baseball team. We have taken care of many high school athletes with torn ACL’s and we recognize the magnitude of the injury and the program which is required to overcome the surgery and return to the same level of athletic performance.
ACL injury is extremely common with more than 100,000 ACL reconstructions performed annually in the United States. The majority of the ACL injuries occur in athletes but work and auto accidents also are common. Associated injuries include meniscus tears (the shock absorber of the knee) and bone contusions.
An untreated ACL tear will lead to an unstable knee and there is an increased incidence of additional injury to the knee if surgery is avoided. Patients who participate in aggressive cutting and pivoting sports, such as basketball, soccer, volleyball, lacrosse and tennis have a high rate of recurrent instability without ACL reconstruction. In view if this, athletic patients who choose to return to these sports generally undergo surgery soon after the injury.
The technique for ACL reconstruction involves placing a free tendon graft in the anatomic position of the ACL. The tendon graft can be taken from the patient’s injured knee or from a donor. All graft choices have advantages and disadvantages.
We perform over 200 ACL reconstructions each year at our Sports Center at The Los Angeles Orthopaedic Institute. We take care of the most elite athletes in Southern California. If you have an ACL tear, please contact us for an in-depth discussion of which treatment option will be best for you to maximize your recovery and return to your highest level of athletic performance.