ACL Tear

Otoño Silva, MD -  - Physiatrist

Interventional Orthopedics of Washington

Otoño Silva, MD

Physiatrist specializing in Orthopedic Regenerative Medicine located in Bellevue, WA

If you’ve torn or injured the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in your knee, your joint will likely be swollen and unstable and you will experience discomfort or pain in the knee. If left untreated the torn ACL may also result in further joint degeneration, making it difficult to walk or run comfortably. Otoño Silva, MD, founder of Interventional Orthopedics of Washington in Bellevue, Washington, uses regenerative medicine interventions with image guidance for precise placement into the affected structure to help you heal a torn ACL. To find out if you can repair your ACL without surgery or corticosteroids by instead stimulating your own natural healing response, contact Interventional Orthopedics of Washington by phone or using the online form.

ACL Tear Q & A

What is an ACL?

Your ACL is a ligament inside your knee that crosses over the posterior cruciate ligament. These two ligaments allow your knee to remain stable while you move back and forth and twist from side to side. Your ACL stabilizes your knee when it rotates and prevents your tibia (shinbone) from sliding in front of your femur (thigh bone).

How did I tear my ACL?

Anterior cruciate ligament tears (also known as sprains) are common in women, men, and children who engage in sports, dancing, and other activities that require sudden moves, twisting, leaping, or jumping. Your ACL becomes more susceptible to injury with age.

Your doctor grades your ACL tear based on the severity:

  • Grade 1: slightly stretched, but able to keep the knee somewhat stable
  • Grade 2: partially torn, stretched and loose with unstable knee
  • Grade 3: complete tear; unstable knee

At Interventional Orthopedics of Washington, Dr. Silva orders an MRI to determine what grade of sprain you’ve suffered. He customizes treatment based on his findings.

How does an interventional orthopedist treat a torn ACL?

Surgery results in permanent changes to the knee and can expose you to significant risks and slow rehabilitation. Traditionally, grade 2 and 3 ACL tears were treated with surgical removal and graft replacement. However, surgery inserts the ligament graft at an unnatural angle and also doesn’t restore nerve function to the ACL. Preserving your own ACL is always be better than a replacement and results in fast rehabilitation.

Many patients who undergo ACL surgery don’t fully recover mobility, have trouble with balance, and may develop arthritis over time.

Instead, Dr. Silva recommends x-ray-guided stem-cell therapy with platelet-rich plasma (PRP) or stem cell therapy to repair your Grade 1, 2 or 3 ACL tear. Regenerative treatment maintains your ACL’s natural position as it repairs the torn tissue. Dr. Silva can also use PRP or prolotherapy to treat ACL grafts.

If you have a grade 1 or 2 ACL sprain, Dr. Silva recommends attempting conservative approaches before utilizing regenerative medicine. Some options to repair your ACL can include:

  • PRICE protocol  — protection, rest, icing, compression, and elevation
  • Physical therapy — strengthens surrounding muscles and soft tissues to better support your knee
  • Massage — stimulates circulation and lymph to accelerate healing
  • Knee Brace — supports the knee while the ACL heals and allows you to continue to participate in activities  
  • PRP therapy —x-ray guided injections of concentrated platelets made of your own blood to accelerate healing and repair
  • Stem cell therapy — x-ray guided injections of bone marrow concentrate, which have a variety of cells that repair tissues

To repair your ACL and get back in the game, contact Interventional Orthopedics of Washington by calling the friendly team or using the online appointment form.