Thomas J. Kremen, M.D.
Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Specialist located in Santa Monica, CA & Los Angeles, CA
Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries are very common, especially among athletes and sports enthusiasts, with up to 150,000 each year in the United States. While not every ACL injury needs surgery, many do, and they require the experienced hands of an orthopedic surgeon. Thomas J. Kremen, MD isn't only an orthopedic surgeon, but he’s also a sports medicine specialist, and he has helped many of his patients in Santa Monica return from an ACL injury as strong as ever. To learn more, call the office or book an appointment online.
What is the ACL?
Your knee is the largest joint in your body, and also one of the most complex. Surrounding the three bones that make up your knee are several connective tissues that provide movement and support, chief among them, your ACL.
This ligament runs diagonally through your knee, connecting your femur (thighbone) and tibia (shinbone). Your ACL is responsible for keeping your bones in alignment and also provides crucial rotational stability.
What causes an ACL injury?
Because your ACL is responsible for rotation, it follows that injuries to this ligament occur during these types of movement, including:
- Moving side to side
- Sudden stopping
About 70% of ACL injuries occur due to any of the above motions, while the other 30% is sustained through impact.
ACL injuries are common among athletes who put their knees through their rotational paces in sports such as:
This list obviously doesn’t cover every activity that leads to ACL injuries, but it represents the most common.
When do I need ACL surgery?
If you’ve injured your ACL, Dr. Kremen performs a full evaluation to see whether surgery is your best option. A severed ACL doesn't heal itself, making surgery necessary to regain full function. For partial tears, you may be able to forego surgery, but only if you rehabilitate the knee properly and avoid future stresses.
If you’re chomping at the bit to get back into the sport of your choice, Dr. Kremen typically recommends ACL surgery to repair the ligaments, so that your knee can perform optimally again.
What happens during an ACL surgery?
During your ACL surgery, Dr. Kremen removes the damaged section of your ACL and replaces it with a piece of tendon, either from a donor or another area in your knee. Your tendons provide much the same strength as your ligaments and work well as a graft.
After Dr. Kremen reconstructs your ACL, you need to rehabilitate your knee with physical therapy to rebuild your strength and give your knee a chance to heal with the new graft in place. Most patients require up to a year of limited activity on the knee to prevent re-injury.
If you’d like to explore the benefits of ACL surgery, call Thomas J. Kremen, MD, or fill out the form online to schedule a consultation.