ACL Injuries Specialist

Matthew Melander, DO

Sports Medicine Physician & Orthopaedic Surgeon located in O'Fallon, MO & St. Peters, MO

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the most important — and most commonly injured — ligaments in your knee. Double board-certified orthopedic surgeon Matthew Melander, DO, has extensive experience treating ACL injuries at his practice in O’Fallon and St. Peters, Missouri. If you or your child has an ACL injury, call the office nearest you or book an appointment online today.

ACL Injuries Q&A

What are ACL injuries?

An ACL sprain or tear is one of the most common knee injuries, especially among athletes who participate in high-intensity sports like basketball, soccer, and football.

The ACL is one of four main ligaments in your knee. The others are the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), medial collateral ligament, and lateral collateral ligament. 

The ACL crosses in front of the PCL to form an X inside your knee joint.

What causes ACL injuries?

ACL injuries often happen during sports and activities that involve running and jumping. 

You can sprain or tear your ACL in several ways, such as slowing down or stopping suddenly while running, changing direction quickly, or landing awkwardly from a jump.

You can also injure your ACL through direct contact like slamming into the dashboard in a car accident or getting tackled in football.

How do I know if I have an ACL injury?

Typical symptoms of ACL injuries include knee pain, swelling, and reduced range of motion. You might also hear a popping noise and feel your knee give out beneath you at the time of the injury.

About half of ACL tears involve other knee injuries, like meniscus tears, articular cartilage tears, or damage to the other ligaments. That’s one of the reasons it’s critical to get an accurate diagnosis and individualized treatment from a sports medicine expert like Dr. Melander.

Dr. Melander reviews your medical history and any X-rays. He carefully examines your knee and may take an onsite MRI to determine if the ACL is torn.

How are ACL injuries treated?

Dr. Melander takes a conservative approach to treatment and only recommends surgery when necessary. Depending on the severity of your ACL injury and your activity level, he may recommend nonsurgical treatments like physical therapy and bracing.

A torn ACL won’t fully heal without surgery. In order to return to sports or normal physical activities, Dr. Melander must surgically reconstruct the ACL. This may involve grafting ligaments from other parts of your body (autograft) or donor tissue (allograft).

Dr. Melander specializes in minimally invasive surgery and uses arthroscopy whenever possible.

For advanced expertise in treating ACL injuries, call the practice or book an appointment online today.