Frequently Asked Questions

What is the ACL?

The ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament, is one of four major knee ligaments. The function of the ACL is to provide stability to the knee and minimize stress across the knee joint.

How do ACL injuries occur?

ACL tears are most often a sports-related injury. However, they can also occur as a result of motor vehicle collisions, falls or work-related injuries. Most often, ACL tears occur when pivoting, landing from a jump, or trying to change direction quickly.

How do I know if I've torn my ACL?

Approximately 40 percent of all individuals experience a "popping" sensation during injury, which is actually the tearing of the ligament tissue. At least half of all anterior ligament tears also cause injury to one of the menisci of the joint, which may also produce a tearing sensation.

Can ACL tears be prevented?

There is good evidence emerging that the risk of ACL injury can be greatly reduced by incorporating a specific prevention program into your exercise routine. The prevention program focuses on proper nerve and muscle control around the knee, utilizing plyometrics, balance, strength and stability exercises.

I've torn my ACL, do I have to have surgery?

Treatment decisions for ACL tears should always be made on an individual basis. The person's age, activity level, how unstable the knee is, and whether other structures in the knee have been injured should all be carefully considered.

Where is my rotator cuff located? Why is it important?

The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles that help move and stabilize the shoulder joint. Your rotator cuff is important because these are the muscles that assist in lifting and rotating the arm.

How do rotator cuff injuries occur?

Damage to any of the four muscles or ligaments that attach the muscle to bone can occur as a result of acute injury, chronic overuse, or gradual aging. This can cause significant pain and disability with range of motion or use of the shoulder joint.

What are symptoms of rotator cuff injuries?

  • Pain in the front of the shoulder sometimes accompanied by pain radiating down the outside part of the arm.
  • Pain when trying to raise your arm overhead or when lifting.
  • Pain at night or when attempting to sleep.
  • You may have difficulty performing routine tasks.

What treatment options are available for rotator cuff injuries?

Many rotator cuff injuries can be treated nonsurgically. Treatment options can include:
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Physical therapy
  • Steroid injections

Should I talk to my doctor?

If you sustained a distinct shoulder injury or have developed chronic shoulder or arm pain that isn't getting any better, you should consult an orthopedic surgeon.

Injections—Cortisone

Injections used in the treatment of orthopedic and sports related injuries can be used to decrease inflammation, limit pain or even stimulate healing. There are many misconceptions about the role injections should and can play.

What is cortisone?

Cortisone is a type of steroid that is naturally produced by your adrenal gland. Injectable cortisone is synthetically produced but is a close cousin to what your body naturally produces. The biggest differences between the two are that synthetic cortisone is not injected into the blood stream, but a particular area of inflammation. And, synthetic cortisone is designed to act more potently and for longer periods (days rather than minutes).

How does the cortisone injection work?

Cortisone is not aimed at "masking pain," but is used to try and decrease inflammation. In doing so, it can often decrease pain. Depending on the condition being treated, the discomfort caused by the inflammation may improve for several weeks and in many instances the relief may be permanent.

Can I get a cortisone injection more than once?

Cortisone in many instances can be a safe and effective tool for inflammation relief. When used in excess or inappropriately, however, it can have adverse effects. For this reason, most orthopedists recommend avoiding repeat injections into the same body part within a short time period.

Ask your orthopedic surgeon if your condition may be amenable to a cortisone injection. Like any medical treatment, potential risks do exist and should be discussed with your physician.

Injections—PRP

Injections used in the treatment of orthopedic and sports related injuries can be used to decrease inflammation, limit pain or even stimulate healing. There are many misconceptions about the role injections should and can play. PRP is another substance increasingly being used in the treatment of some common orthopedic conditions.

What is PRP?

Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is a concentration of platelet cells taken from your blood that have a high number growth factors that may help in the healing process of chronic injuries.

The growth factors are chemicals that signal the body to initiate a healing response. The hope is that the injected PRP will stimulate your body's ability to heal an area of injury.

What types of injuries does PRP work for?

While still a relatively new treatment, PRP can be used in outpatient settings for treatment of common overuse conditions including Achilles tendonitis, rotator cuff tendonitis, tennis elbow, patellar tendonitis and other overuse injuries. Most orthopedic surgeons agree that it is not effective against arthritis.

How do I know if PRP is right for me?

While laboratory studies show that PRP can help increase certain growth factors that are important in the healing process there is still some questions whether these injections make any difference in healing if injected into an injured part of the body. For this reason, you may want to consider other available treatment options prior to trying PRP. Like any medical treatment, potential risks do exist and should be discussed with your physician.

Injections—HA

Injections used in the treatment of orthopedic and sports related injuries can be used to decrease inflammation, limit pain or even stimulate healing. There are many misconceptions about the role injections should and can play.

What is HA?

Hyaluron or Hyulronic acid (HA) is present in normal joint fluid and responsible for the lubricating properties of joint fluid. The lubricating effect of joint fluid allows cartilage surfaces to glide smoothly upon each other.

What conditions is synthetic Hyulronic acid (HA) used for?

Unlike cortisone or PRP injections, Hyaluron is limited to the treatment of osteoarthritis. In joints affected by osteoarthritis, there is less HA produced. Hyaluron injections provide a lubricating substance, which may help protect remaining joint cartilage. In addition, it may provide some decrease in inflammation.

How do I know if HA is right for me?

If you suffer from a condition such as knee arthritis and want to delay a joint replacement consider speaking to your orthopedic surgeon about Hyulronic acid.

While not curative, HA injections have been shown to be of temporary benefit in some patients and may help delay the need for joint replacement.