An ACL tear is one of the most dreaded injuries in all of sports. But it doesn’t have to be the end of your athletic career or stop you from taking part in the activities you enjoy most. Dr. Ralph Venuto has performed arthroscopic surgery for hundreds of patients to repair a damaged anterior cruciate ligament, and he looks forward to helping you minimize pain and regain stability in your affected knee.
Call Dr. Venuto today at 949-759-3600 or send us an email if you would like to learn more about the use of ultrasound-guided medication delivery at his Orange County orthopedic practice.
An Understanding of the Injury
The ACL is one of four ligaments within the knee that connect the femur (thigh bone) to the tibia (shin bone). It is the most commonly injured ligament in the knee. Running diagonally across the middle of the knee, it holds the tibia in place and provides rotational stability to the knee during movement.
ACL injuries are more common in people who participate in certain sports that can put great strain on the knee joint, such as basketball, football, soccer and skiing. However, an ACL injury can result from a wide range of activities. An injury may occur just to the ACL itself or in combination with damage to other structures in the knee, such as the meniscus, articular cartilage, other ligaments, or bone.
When you injure your ACL, you know it. Pain and swelling occur almost immediately, and the knee feels unstable. Swelling increases for several hours after the injury, causing a loss of full range of motion and pain when attempting to walk.
To begin his evaluation, Dr. Venuto usually orders X-rays to look for bone fractures, followed by an MRI to review the condition of the ACL and check for surrounding injuries. He will also perform physical tests such as a Lachman’s test and pivot shift test to determine if the ACL is intact or torn.
Choosing Dr. Venuto
Here are just a few reasons why so many people choose Dr. Ralph Venuto for their care.
- Board-certified in orthopedic surgery and specializing in sports medicine and the treatment of knee and shoulder disorders.
- Uses many of the latest techniques in orthopedic care, including stem cell treatment and PRP, to help his patients heal faster and have better results.
- One of the first surgeons in the country to perform arthroscopic surgery, without adding trauma or scarring.
- Named one of the “Best Doctors in Orange County” in Orange Coast Magazine’s “The Doctor’s Doctor.”
Surgery is often required to repair a torn ACL, but in some cases non-surgical treatment alone will lead to an adequate recovery. Non-surgical treatment usually involves physical therapy along with bracing and patient education to avoid repeat injury or instability episodes.
Candidates for Non-Surgical Treatment
- People with a partial ACL tear who have no symptoms of instability
- People with a complete ACL tear who are willing to stop playing high-speed sports
- Non-athletes who do not engage in physical labor for their jobs
- Children whose bones and joints have not yet fully developed
Arthroscopic surgery is usually Dr. Venuto’s recommended approach to ACL injuries, particularly for those patients who plan to engage in future activities (sports or work functions) that will put strain on the knee and are particularly likely to lead to re-injury. Once the stability of the knee joint has been compromised due to an ACL tear, secondary damage to the knee is much more likely. Surgery is also the preferred option when the original ACL injury is combined with other injuries to the knee.
ACL tears cannot be mended by suturing the ligament back together. Instead, Dr. Venuto will use a substitute graft made of tendon to complete the repair. This tendon may be taken from the patient (known as an autograft) or be sourced from a cadaver (known as an allograft). The graft will be prepared prior to surgery. The goal of the surgery itself is to decrease pain and restore stability in the knee, so that a patient can return to sports and other physical activities.
The Role of Physical Therapy
Dr. Venuto generally recommends a course of physical therapy prior to surgery to improve range of motion. Additional exercises will begin very soon after surgery to prevent stiffness or loss of motion following the procedure while also strengthening the quadriceps and hamstring muscles. Patients need to follow the physical therapy regiment carefully and completely for the best possible outcome. Physical therapy may be combined with icing, along with the use of machine manipulation of the joint or crutches to keep weight off of the leg that underwent surgery.
Get the help you need now.
Call Dr. Venuto at 949-759-3600 or SEND US AN EMAIL to schedule your appointment.
Pay Attention to Early Warning Signs…
At his orthopedic practice in Newport Beach serving Costa Mesa, Irvine, and all of Orange County, Dr. Venuto sees patients almost every day who are living with various orthopedic conditions of the knee or shoulder. Paying attention to early warning signs can help lead to earlier treatment, which itself may minimize the pain and disability associated with your condition.
Call Dr. Venuto today at 949-759-3600 or send us an email to schedule your visit.