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Medstar Health Monday - Week 22

ACL Reconstruction: What to Expect

The anterior cruciate ligament or ACL is one of four ligaments within the knee joint. It is the primary
stabilizer of the knee and one of the most commonly injured. Damage to the ACL most often occurs
during non-contact activities of sport, such as when a person suddenly pivots or stops, quickly
changes direction, or lands after jumping. A surgical procedure is generally recommended when
the ACL is torn if you are an athlete and want to continue playing sports, if more than one ligament
is injured within the knee, if there is a buckling with every day activities, and/or your age. An
emergency room or urgent care can rule out the possibility of a fracture, but an MRI is needed to
look at the ligaments.If an injury to the knee occurs, it is recommended you consult with an
orthopedic surgeon.Prior to the surgical procedure, you would likely complete a rehabilitation
program with a physical therapist or athletic trainer. The goal for “prehab” is to reduce all pain and
swelling, restore full range of motion, and strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee joint prior
to surgery. Once you are prepared, your surgeon will schedule an arthroscopic procedure. This
minimally-invasive procedure typically involves two small incisions around your knee joint, where
the remaining torn ligament is removed, the area is cleaned, and a new graft is placed with a piece
of tendon from another part of your knee/body or from a donor. The graft is secured with a fixation
device like a screw. In most cases, patients will go home the same day of surgery and begin
physical therapy within a week. The recovery process can be anywhere from 6-8 months and
upwards to a year for the ligament to fully heal and recover to an advanced-level competitive sport.
Initial stages will focus on restoring normal knee function, increasing strength, weight bearing
activities and continue to progress into advanced strengthening, jumping, running, and cutting
activities later in the rehabilitation process.

Baltimore Union Sports Medicine Team

Union Sports Medicine Liaison: Bryan Caplan, DPT, MTC ([email protected])
Athletic Trainer:Amber Radtke, MS, LAT, ATC, NASM-CES ([email protected])
Strength and Conditioning Coach: Jay Dyer, CSCS ([email protected])
Vice President of MedStar Sport Medicine: Sean Huffman
Director of MedStar Sports Medicine Research: Andy Lincoln

Baltimore City (Harbor Hospital)
Physician: Jeffrey Mayer, Leigh Ann Curl
Sports PT: Chadd Baldwin
Concussion PT: Emily Coates

Baltimore County (Franklin Square)
Urgent Care: MedStar Franklin Square ED
Physician: Frank Dawson, David Cohen, Christopher Looze
Sports PT: Ryan Zimmerman
Concussion PT: Michael Ariete, Jana Bille

Baltimore County (Dundalk)
Physician: Kelly Ryan
Sports & Concussion PT: Laura Long

Baltimore County (Timonium)
Urgent Care: MedStar Prompt Care Towson
Physician: Andrew Tucker, Richard Levine, Melita Moore
Sports PT: Chad Keller
Concussion PT: Patrick Miller

Harford County (Bel Air)
Urgent Care: MedStar Prompt Care
Physician: Sean Curtain
Sports PT: Chelsea Mitchell
Concussion PT: Adrienne Nelson
Concussion PT: Tori Palmer

Baltimore County (Perry Hall)
Urgent Care: MedStar Prompt Care
Sports PT: Stephanie Stover
Concussion PT: Mark Musselman

MedStar Sports Medicine is the official medical team for the Baltimore Ravens, Baltimore Orioles, Washington Capitals, Washington Wizards, Baltimore Blast, Washington Spirit, and more than 50 additional professional, collegiate, high school, and club teams.


Amber Radtke

Bryan Caplan
-Physical Therapist

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