Posts Tagged ‘ACL injury’

ACL Injuries and Young Female Athletes

Thank you for joining me for the live chat on ACL injuries last week!  We had some excellent questions. One participant asked a key question about young females and ACL injuries and I would like to expand on my response to this important subject.

There are a growing number of  female athletes who are tearing their ACLs.  In fact, young female athletes (under 20 years old) are four to eight times more likely than males to injure their ACL.  Even though extensive research has been done on the reasons why this could happen, we are not exactly sure why females tend to injure their ACL easier. Luckily, if a young woman injures her ACL  we are able to get most athletes back to their previous level of play due to advances in arthroscopic surgery and specialized physical therapy.

Full recovery may take about eight to 10 months but important to note, is in rehabilitation, experienced physical therapists are working with the athlete to help them avoid re-injury.  The physical therapists and athletic trainers are teaching young girls how to jump, how to land, how to contract muscles correctly as well as specific exercises that will help strengthen the knee.  Some of the things we are teaching young female athletes are not instinctual but will greatly help reduce the risk of future injury if implemented correctly when the athlete starts participating in their sport again.

If you have had a ACL injury please make sure to work with your physical therapist to make sure you are working some of these aspects into your recovery.  If you have not had an ACL tear but you are a young female athlete, do some research on how to avoid injuries so you can excel in your sport without injury. One recommended source is the PEP Program which seeks to prevent ACL injuries.

For the full transcript on the chat visit - http://advancingyourhealth.org/orthopedics/past-doctor-chats/acl-injuries-chat/

About Dr. Sam Labib

Dr. Labib is an Emory Sports Medicine orthopaedic surgeon with special interest in problems and procedures of the knee, ankle, and foot. He is the head team physician for the athletic programs at Oglethorpe University, Spelman College, and Georgia Perimeter College. He is also an orthopaedic consultant to the Atlanta Faclcons, Georgia Tech and Emory University.

He has lectured both nationally and internationally at many orthopedic meetings. His research has been published in several journals, including JBJS, Arthroscopy, Foot and Ankle International and the American Journal of Orthopedics as well as numerous video presentations and book chapters. Dr Labib is Board Certified in orthopedic surgery with additional subspecialty certification in Sports Medicine Surgery.

Related Links

 

E-Newsletter Sign Up

Looking for more healthy resources? Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter, Health Source.

ACL Tear & Repair Patient Story – Freddy Assuncao, MMA Fighter

ACL tear repair surgery MMA Fighter Freddy AssunacoAnterior Cruciate Ligament tears in the knee don’t just happen to athletes playing football or soccer. Emory’s Chief of Sports Medicine, Dr. John Xerogeanes, recently repaired an ACL tear for MMA fighter, Freddy Assuncao.

Assuncao tore his ACL in training, helping one of his teammates prepare for an upcoming fight. For the repair of his potentially career-jeopardizing knee injury, Assuncao sought out renowned ACL surgeon, Dr. Xerogeanes – who is affectionately known as “Dr. X” by patients and staffers at Emory Sports Medicine – and a strong team of experts on rehabbing professional athletes from the Emory Sports Medicine Center.

Upcoming Doctor Chat: ACL Injuries

ACL Injuries Chat Sign UpDid you know that there are over 150,000 injuries to American athletes each year and female athletes are 2 to 8 times more likely to injure their ACL than their male counterparts?

Surgery is recommended for many ACL (anterior cruiciate ligament) injuries and most athletes are able to get back to their sports within 6 to 12 months. All athletes should know what they can do to prevent ACL injuries or how to take care of an ACL injury if it occurs.  Join Emory Sports Medicine surgeon, Sam Labib on Tuesday, March 26 at 12 noon for an interactive, live, web chat on ACL injuries. Dr. Labib, will be able to answer questions about  the ACL including what the ACL does, how ACL injuries occur, symptoms of an ACL injury, treatment options for ACL injuries, how to get back to your sport after an ACL injury and new research on the horizon.

Back to Life After an ACL Injury!

Prevent Joint PainACL, anterior cruciate ligament, injuries are one of the most common knee injuries among athletes. The American Orthpedic Society for Sports Medicine estimates there are over 150,000 ACL injuries each year in the US. ACL injuries can happen to everyone – from the professional athletes to the weekend warriors. The good news is that with proper treatment with an ACL specialist and adequate recovery, you can get back to the sport you love! Watch this short video of Neil, an Emory Sports Medicine patient, who has recovered from ACL surgery and is back to playing tennis and doing the things he loves to do.

About Dr. John Xerogeanes
Dr. Xerogeanes is Chief of Sports Medicine at the Emory Orthopaedic & Spine Center. Known as Dr. “X” by his staff and patients, he is an Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Emory University as well as an Adjunct Professor at Georgia State and Mercer University. Dr. X is entering his 12th year as Head Orthopaedist and Team Physician for Georgia Tech, Emory University, Agnes Scott College and the Atlanta Dream of the WNBA. He specializes in ACL and ACL revision surgery performing over 200 of these operations each year. He is board certified in orthopaedic surgery and has his sub-specialty certification in orthopaedic sports medicine.

Dr. Xerogeanes has been recognized as one of US News & World Report’s Top Doctors with a special distinction listing him among the top 1% in the nation in his specialty. 

About Dr. Spero Karas
Dr. Karas is the Director of the Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Fellowship Program and an Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Emory University. His specialties include sports medicine, surgery of the shoulder and knee, and arthroscopic surgery. He came to Emory in 2005, after serving as Chief of the Shoulder Service and team physician at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. He is Board Certified in Orthopaedic Surgery, with a subspecialty certification in Orthopaedic Sports Medicine. He currently serves as head team physician for the Atlanta Falcons and is a consulting team physician for Emory University and Georgia Tech athletics. He cares for patients and athletes of all levels: professional, collegiate, scholastic, and recreational.

Dr. Karas was recognized as one of America’s “Top Orthopaedic Doctors” in Men’s Health Magazine April 2007 and “Top Sports Medicine Specialists for Women” in Women’s Health Magazine. Atlanta Magazine has named him “Atlanta’s Most Trusted Sports Medicine Specialist” for the past three years. Dr. Karas is an internationally recognized expert in the field of shoulder, knee, and sports medicine.

Related Links

Robert Griffin III: On the Road to ACL Injury Recovery

Dr. John Xerogeanes Emory Sports Medicine

Emory’s Chief of Sports Medicine, Dr. John Xerogeanes (Dr. X), recently spoke with the team from USA Today about the significance of NFL Washington Redskins’ quarterback, Robert Griffin III’s knee injury and the surgery to repair it.

Check out the video below via USA Today to see what Dr. X believes Robert Griffin III’s biggest recovery challenges will be and more on ACL injuries:

About John Xerogeanes, MD

John Xerogeanes MD
Dr. Xerogeanes is Chief of Sports Medicine at the Emory Orthopaedic & Spine Center. Known as Dr. “X” by his staff and patients, he is an Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Emory University as well as an Adjunct Professor at Georgia State and Mercer University. Dr. Xerogeanes is entering his 11th year as Head Orthopaedist and Team Physician for Georgia Tech, Emory University, Agnes Scott College and the Atlanta Dream of the WNBA. Dr. X specializes in the care of the knee and shoulder for both male and female athletes of every age. He is board certified in orthopaedic surgery and has his sub-specialty certification in orthopaedic sports medicine.

Related Resources:

Returning to Competition after an ACL Injury and Surgery

ACL Rehab ProgramBecause our sports medicine specialists have created a new program dedicated entirely to ACL injuries and your successful recovery from them, we’ve been sharing blog posts that correspond with the stages of the program. In first post, we helped you identify goals and prepare for ACL surgery after an injury and also introduced you to the concept of prehabilitation, which is equally as important as rehabilitating after surgery. For more on that topic, check out part I of our ACL injury blog series. After helping you prepare for surgery, we then moved on to identifying your post-ACL surgery recovery goals week-by-week in part II of our series. Today, we’ll be covering the last stage of the program and the portion that’s probably most important to those who consider themselves athletes: Returning to Play.

The goals and exercises outlined below will guide you from 3 months until 8 months post surgery. It is vital to faithfully adhere to the following program to avoid re-injury to the ACL reconstruction. Having a physical therapist or certified athletic trainer to help hide you through this program is often helpful. If you’ve had ACL surgery, but are still in the early stages of rehabilitation, check out part I and part II of our ACL injury blog series before moving forward.

Months 3-4: Jogging Phase

During months 3 and 4 of your recovery after ACL surgery you will work on improving functional strength with forwards and backwards movement, increasing your cardiovascular fitness and starting a jogging progression, core strengthening and overall lower extremity flexibility. Tip: when performing exercises such as Schlopy Mini Jumps, use a mirror for feedback. Your hips should stay even and knees should not buckle in, you should flex at your knees not your hips.

Months 4-5: Agility Phase

Building agility in months 4 and 5 of your recovery is a key step in returning to play. During months 4-5, focus on your strength, cardio, flexibility, core, and agility workouts. From the exercises outlined by the program, lower extremity strength should all be done on same day and make sure you get 48 hours rest between strength exercises. Cardiovascular exercises should be done 3-5 times per week.

Months 5-6: Return to Drills Phase

Throughout months 5-6 you will continue to work on improving strength and balance and start getting back to your game. You can add the BOSU ball with your strengthening exercises and start sport specific drills and start to be a part of your team.

Months 6-7: Return to Practice Phase

During months 6-7 of your post-ACL surgery recovery, you can start practicing your sport with your team. You can get physical in practice but only progress to play when you are fully confident. You will need both the physical strength and mental confidence before you start to compete and play.

Months 7-8: Return to Competition Phase

Congratulations! Once you’ve made it this far through the ACL surgery and rehabilitation program, you are ready to return to competition!  Make sure you are in the best shape possible to return both physically and mentally. Your ACL strength and flexibility will only improve as long as you continue to challenge yourself and continue your strengthening.

Remember you won’t be 100 percent, fully recovered until 12 to 18 months. Professional athletes take one year to return to high level competition. Be patient!

If you’ve injured your ACL, whether or not you’ve had surgery yet, check out our ACL rehabilitation program website. All of the phases listed above are outlined on the site with detailed instructions, exercises and tips for making your recovery after ACL surgery as effective as possible.

Related Resources:

 

Defining Post-Op Goals After ACL Surgery

ACL post operative goals

It is estimated that there are approximately 80,000 anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears in the U.S. each year. Not surprisingly, 70% of those injuries take place while the person injured is participating in athletic activity. Because ACL tears are so common and can put a hindrance on an athlete pursuing his or her career or passion, our Emory Sports Medicine team has put together an ACL program specifically for people seeking guidance in their treatment and recovery from ACL injuries and tears.

In our last blog post on ACL injuries, we got you familiar with the idea of prehabilitation, or care and steps to take before surgery for an ACL-tear. which is part one of the ACL program at Emory. In this post, we’ll cover some of the details and goals of your post-op recovery from ACL surgery, including what you should expect to see week by week:

ACL Surgery Post-Op Weeks 1-3

Goals: The goals in the first three weeks of your recovery from ACL surgery are fairly straight forward, to get patients back on their feet (off crutches), reduce swelling in the joint by faithfully icing (20 min every 2-4 hrs), and to increase the knee’s range of motion and focusing on getting extension back. For specific measurements you should track and exercises to consider, check out the materials on our website.

ACL Surgery Post-Op Weeks 4-6

Goals: Consistently reducing swelling in the knee and continuing to work on increasing the knee’s range of motion are the core goals of ACL surgery recovery weeks 4-6. At this point in your surgical recovery, your knee should be able to be straight or equal to other knee. Your knee joint should be cooing and not warm to touch. Those 4-6 weeks out from surgery should focus on being able to walk without limping and strengthening quadricep muscles.

ACL Surgery Post-Op Weeks 7-12

Goals: 2-3 months after ACL surgery, swelling should be controlled and there should be minimal effusion in the knee joint. Range of motion should be nearly full or equal to the other side full extension and knee flexion should be to 120 degrees. Knee joint should be cool and normal temperature, compared to other side. By this point, patients should have achieved good quadriceps tone with their vastus medialis oblique (VMO) firing effectively. Patients should also seek to establish normal gait pattern and be able to walk without limping at this point.

Does your recovery timeline after ACL surgery match up with what you see here? If so, or if not, please feel free to share your story with us and with our readers.

Emory Sports Medicine’s ACL injury program specializes in providing care ranging from the prehabilitation stage to getting you back in the game. So, in our next ACL injury post, we’ll share with you specific exercises you can use and steps you can take (including video demonstrations) to help you return to play more quickly. Stay tuned!

Related Resources:

Emory’s ACL Rehabilitation Program Gets Athletes Back on Track

ACL Rehabilitation ProgramDid you know? “Prehabilitation” is just as important as rehabilitation after an ACL tear?

If you’re an athlete, you’re at a greater risk for knee injury than someone who doesn’t participate regularly in a sport. One of the most common sports injuries, the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear, can happen suddenly. Twist your knee sharply or extend it beyond its normal range during play, and you may hear the telltale “pop.”

While many sports injuries can be treated non-surgically, some, like an ACL tear, may benefit from surgery. The sports medicine physicians, physical therapists, and certified athletic trainers at the Emory Sports Medicine Center have designed the ACL Rehabilitation Program to help you prepare for ACL surgery, enjoy a successful post-op recovery, and ease back into play.

When an ACL tear requires surgery, pre-surgery care, or “prehabilitation,” will go a long way toward ensuring a successful post-operative recovery.

The 4 Key Goals of the Prehabilitation are to:

  1. reduce swelling
  2. retain range of motion
  3. retain muscle size and strength
  4. maintain cardiovascular fitness

After an ACL injury, your first step is to get the swelling down. During the initial 48 hours, be sure to ice your injured knee for 15–20 minutes at least two to three times a day. While you’re icing your knee, keep your knee elevated above your heart as much as possible. To decrease inflammation, provide compression for your injured knee with a knee sleeve or ACE bandage.

In addition to reducing swelling with ice, elevation, and compression, you’ll want to retain your range of motion and muscle size and strength and maintain your cardiovascular fitness. To do this, you’ll need to keep exercising. Emory’s physical therapists and certified athletic trainers will work with you to create an individualized exercise plan that will help you prehabilitate your knee without reinjuring it.

Check out Emory’s ACL Rehabilitation Program website and watch videos that will take you step by step through exercises to do during prehabilitation, surgical recovery, and when you’re returning to play.

Have you had an ACL injury that required surgery? We’d like to hear about your experience. Please take a moment to give us feedback in the comments section below.

Related Resources:

New Technology for Reducing Risk & Recovery Times for Young Athletes

John Xerogeanes MDWhether your child plays football, basketball, soccer or gymnastics, a common worry for many parents is the looming possibility of a sports injury. In many of these sports, anatomic anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears are one of the most common injuries young athletes experience. For most children who injure their ACL, treatment consists of rehabilitation, wearing a brace, and reducing athletic activity levels until they stop growing (usually around their mid-teens), at which point ACL reconstruction surgery can safely be performed.

Why do we wait until kids stop growing to perform the surgery? ACL operations are typically conducted with extensive use of X-rays in the operating room, which often leads to a large margin of “chance” when working around growth plates. Essentially, performing ACL surgery on a young child significantly increases the risk of causing a growth plate disturbance.

To help ease this fear and risk, we’ve developed a new 3-D MRI technology at Emory Sports Medicine Center. The 3-D MRI technology makes it possible for surgeons to reconstruct ACL tears in young athletes without disturbing the growth plate. This technology allows us to better pre-operatively plan and perform ACL surgery with more precision and less risk.

As one of the four major ligaments in the knee, the ACL is somewhat like a rubber band, attached at two points to keep the knee stable. In order to replace the ligament, a tunnel is created in the upper and lower knee bones (femur and tibia) and a new ligament (typically taken from a hamstring or allograft tissue) is slid between those tunnels and attached at each end.

With the new 3-D technology being used at Emory, we can actually see from one end to the other on either side of the knee, and can correctly position the tunnels so we are able to place the new ligament with more precision. With this technology, ACL surgery can be done in less time than the traditional surgery, and we have great confidence that the growth plates in our young patients will not be damaged.

Kids who undergo this type of operation will still have at least one year of recovery time. The good news, is that it does allow them to eventually pursue normal activity much sooner than they would with the traditional surgery. This new method of ACL reconstruction is able to be performed on children and adults alike. My hope is that this new technology will aid us in preventing future re-injury for athletes who have suffered from ACL tears.

About John Xerogeanes, MD:

Dr. Xerogeanes, or Dr. “X”, is chief of Sports Medicine at the Emory Orthopaedic & Spine Center. He is also head orthopaedist and team physician for Georgia Tech, Emory University, and Agnes Scott College. As a member of a number of professional societies and organizations, including the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Dr. Xerogeanes has contributed to many textbooks and has received numerous research awards. Dr. Xerogeanes’ work has been featured on CNN, ESPN and network television news

How Long Does It Take to Return From ACL Surgery?

If you’re a fan of the New England Patriots (or just a sports-medicine physician and surgeon), you’ve probably been watching the comeback of receiver Wes Welker from ACL reconstructive surgery very closely. Welker tore his ACL in January of this year, and the latest news suggests he’s aiming to start Game 1 of the NFL season on September 12. He’s already participated in contact drills with the Patriots.

Welker’s comeback has raised some eyebrows because he’s pushing conventional time limits for his return to the sport. Most people who undergo reconstructive knee surgery can return to athletic activities at six to eight months, but they’re usually not back to their previous level of competition until one year. Keep in mind—we’re not talking about tennis with a friend here; this is the NFL.

Professional athletes are like a Petri dish for the rest of us. They take the human body to the limits of what it can do, and so we learn from them. Ultimately, we often want to emulate them, which is why it’s important to put Welker’s comeback into perspective.

One of my patients, a Georgia Tech football player, is coming back from ACL reconstruction, and he’s complaining of soreness. We stress to kids that the average pro football player takes 54 weeks to return to play after an ACL injury. When a patient tries to return earlier, they often experience pain and swelling, and are at some level of increased risk of re-injury.

Here are some warning signs we look for that could indicate an athlete is pushing the limits on their comeback:

1. Pain and soreness in the front part of the knee (in the patella tendon area)

2. Swelling of the knee

3. A general feeling of fatigue

If a patient experiences one or more of these symptoms, they need to back off from their training, and concentrate on icing, riding the exercise bike, and resting. They can always resume training when they’re feeling better. If you’ve had ACL surgery and your “comeback” to the activities you enjoy isn’t going as expected, call us at Emory Sports Medicine. We can provide a safe, solid game plan for your return to action.

Meanwhile, if Welker succeeds and contributes another valuable season to Tom Brady and the Patriots, his determination should be praised; however, that doesn’t mean his quick comeback should be emulated.

About John Xerogeanes, MD:

Dr. Xerogeanes, or Dr. “X”, is chief of Sports Medicine at the Emory Orthopaedic & Spine Center. He is also head orthopaedist and team physician for Georgia Tech, Emory University, and Agnes Scott College. As a member of a number of professional societies and organizations, including the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Dr. Xerogeanes has contributed to many textbooks and has received numerous research awards. Dr. Xerogeanes’ work has been featured on CNN, ESPN and network television news.