Sep 27, 2023 / Sports Medicine

Individualized Care for ACL injuries

The experts at our Center for Excellence in Sports Medicine see hundreds of young athletes for the treatment of knee and anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, injuries every year. Our multidisciplinary team knows working together to tackle every angle of an ACL injury – from diagnosis using imaging techniques, surgical reconstruction with a pediatric orthopedic surgeon to rehabilitation in physical therapy and even checking in with a pediatric psychologist – will give our active and growing patients the best outcomes.

ACL injuries are on the rise. According to the National Institutes of Health, in the United States alone, approximately 100,000 to 200,000 experience an ACL tear or sprain every year. While ACL injuries may be treated nonoperatively in some cases, reconstruction is typically the treatment method for those with higher levels of activity such as young athletes. After surgical reconstruction, a careful plan for recovery and return-to-play is followed, involving the patient, surgeon and physical therapist. Since secondary ACL tears are a big concern, the recovery process takes nine to 12 months or more before an athlete can get back to their sport at their previous level. 

Recently, our sports medicine experts and pediatric orthopedic surgeons Henry B. Ellis, M.D., and Philip L. Wilson, M.D., helped author a study looking at how young athletes in different sports recovered from their ACL injury and reconstruction. In the study, findings showed that young athletes, especially females, demonstrated sport-specific differences in functional testing scores. They also found that soccer players were cleared to return to play sooner than football players and that the level of competition influenced functional testing scores in all athletes. These results point to a clear need for individualized treatment and recovery for ACL injuries.

For our sports medicine experts, this study validates efforts that customize ACL treatment and recovery for each athlete. Our sports medicine team continues to conduct research to improve the treatment strategies, recovery timelines and patient outcomes. Additionally, our experts actively share what they learn about ACL treatment and recovery with others in the medical and sports fields to help update the standards of care for young athletes everywhere.

Learn more about our Center for Excellence in Sports Medicine.

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