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ACL / Knee Instability Specialist

Coastal Empire Orthopedics

Orthopedic Surgeons & Sports Medicine located in Savannah, GA

Knee instability makes it difficult to walk because of the feeling that your knee might give way. If you have problems with knee instability due to anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries or any other cause, orthopedic surgeon Jonathan Shults, MD, can help. At Coastal Empire Orthopedics in Savannah, Georgia, he provides nonsurgical treatments, as well as the most advanced minimally invasive surgical techniques, to treat ACL injuries and knee instability. Call the office today or schedule your appointment online.

ACL / Knee Instability Q & A

What is knee instability?

Knee instability is a problem where your knee joint seems to move from side to side or twist when you use it, to a point where you feel it could give way.

You might experience symptoms like clicking, locking, catching, or popping sensations in the joint as you move or when you bend your knee. The joint is likely to be painful, and you might have problems straightening your leg.

What causes knee instability? 

The most common cause of knee instability is ligament damage in your knee. There are four ligaments that control the motion of your knee and keep the joint stable. 

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) cross over your knee joint. There’s also the medial collateral ligament (MCL) and lateral collateral ligament (LCL).

Of these, the one that most often causes knee instability is the ACL.

What causes ACL injuries?

ACL injuries often occur in athletes who play sports or take part in activities where they change direction or speed quickly or pull up suddenly. 

Landing badly after jumping can damage the ACL, and contact sports where players tackle other players are also a common cause of ACL injuries.

While sports injuries are a frequent cause of ACL injuries, it’s also possible to damage your ACL as you’re going about your everyday life. Twisting your knee during a fall as you’re walking could cause an ACL injury, for example.

When you suffer an ACL tear, you might be aware of a popping sensation in your knee, which is the fibers of the ligament tearing. Your knee might buckle and is likely to be painful. The next day your knee could be tender and swollen, and you might struggle to stand properly on the affected leg.

How are ACL injuries and knee instability treated?

Treatment for ACL injuries and knee instability typically involves nonsurgical approaches like physical therapy, medication, and wearing a knee brace, if the injury isn’t too severe. These treatments can restore sufficient function for someone who has a fairly low level of activity.

However, if you’re active, or your condition is severe, you might require surgery to repair the ACL. A ruptured ACL can’t heal properly without treatment, so you risk permanent knee instability without surgery.

Dr. Shults has extensive experience in carrying out ACL repairs. He uses minimally invasive arthroscopic techniques, which means making only small incisions in your knee and using specialized instruments to avoid causing too much tissue damage. The repairs use grafts of tendons taken from elsewhere in your body, typically the hamstring tendon or patellar tendon.

If you have an ACL injury or are experiencing knee instability, call Coastal Empire Orthopedics today or book an appointment online.