ACL Tear Specialist

Andrew Kersten, MD -  - Orthopedic Surgery

Andrew Kersten, MD

Orthopedic Surgery located in Asheville, NC

Sprains and tears to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) are among the most common knee injuries. Board-certified orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist Andrew Kersten, MD, diagnoses and treats ACL tears at his private practice in Asheville, North Carolina. If you think you may have an ACL tear, book an appointment at Dr. Kersten’s office online or by phone today.

ACL Tear Q & A

What is an ACL tear?

The anterior cruciate ligament is one of the major ligaments in your knee. It’s also one of the most commonly injured ligaments. The ACL runs diagonally across the center of your knee joint, crossing the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) to form an X.

Ligament injuries are called sprains and are graded according to their severity. A grade 1 sprain involves slight stretching of the ligament, while a grade 3 is a complete tear. A grade 2 sprain is sometimes called a partial tear. Most ACL injuries are complete or near-complete tears.

How does an ACL tear happen?

ACL tears are common sports injuries that often occur when you suddenly stop and change direction. Athletes who participate in sports like soccer and basketball are particularly susceptible to tearing their ACL.

Common causes of an ACL injury include:

  • Rapidly changing direction
  • Stopping or slowing down while running
  • Landing improperly from a jump

Most ACL tears result from noncontact causes, but it’s also possible to injure your ACL during a direct collision with another athlete, like a football tackle.

How do I know if I tore my ACL?

You may have an ACL tear if you hear a popping noise and feel your knee give out at the time of injury. Other signs and symptoms of a torn ACL include:

  • Knee pain and swelling
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Difficulty walking on the injured leg

If you continue playing sports with a torn ACL, you may cause further knee damage, such as a meniscus tear.

How are ACL tears diagnosed and treated?

First, Dr. Kersten reviews your symptoms and medical history. Most of the time, he diagnoses an ACL tear based on a thorough physical exam. He may take an X-ray if he suspects you also have a fracture.  

Then, Dr. Kersten works with you to create an individualized treatment plan. Depending on the severity of your ACL tear and your desire to return to sports, treatment may include:

  • Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE)
  • Wearing a knee brace
  • Physical therapy
  • ACL reconstruction surgery

Dr. Kersten is a leader in the field of minimally invasive knee arthroscopy and may recommend surgery for athletes who wish to return safely to sports.

For the highest quality care if you have an ACL tear, call the office of Andrew Kersten, MD, or book an appointment online today.