All About ACL Tears in Athletes

By: Eric B. Pifel, MD

Well, Packer Nation, we now all know that Jordy Nelson has torn his ACL during a preseason game. This is a very common injury in athletes (approximately 150,000 ACL injuries occur each year in the United States) of all levels, including fine-tuned pros! Most injuries occur with cutting on a field, and like Jordy’s, may not even include contact from another player.

ACL – or Anterior Cruciate Ligaments – are a large structure in the central knee that helps maintain stability of the knee, especially during cutting and twisting while running. Unfortunately, the ACL has a very poor blood supply and does not heal on its own.

When injured, the athlete will need surgery to recreate the ACL and will most likely miss 6-8 months of sport at a minimum.

ACL reconstruction is the surgery that is performed when this injury occurs. The ACL cannot be repaired but is recreated using other tissues. These reconstructions are most commonly the hamstrings or patellar tendon. The surgery is typically a day surgery, but the recovery is lengthy with significant need for physical therapy.

After surgery and physical therapy, I’d expect Jordy to return to full play at the same high level at which he’s recently performed. We certainly all wish him a successful recovery and look forward to seeing him play in 2016.

Learn more about ACL tear treatment and surgery in this brief video featuring Dr. Eric Pifel:

Midwest Orthopedic Specialty Services specialists Drs. Bamrah, McCarty, Neubauer, Pennington, Pifel, Ross, Stone, Tracy and Zoltan all perform ACL reconstructions to get athletes back in the game. Visit our physician directory to get to know them.

Learn more about knee injuries and the minimally invasive surgeries we offer.