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Recovering from High School​ Football Injury of ACL

My son suffered an ACL knee injury during high​-school football practice. What might we expect regarding his recovery?

​​​“Your son likely had a complete anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear. For football players with this particular injury, most orthopedic physicians recommend surgery to improve stability and help prevent further damage,” says Anup Shah, M.D., a dual fellowship-trained Orthopedic surgeon at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic. “A tear of this ligament can cause your knee to give way or buckle during physical activity. Athletes will usually be sidelined for at least six months after this type of surgery.”

Dr. Shah says the ACL is a broad ligament responsible for knee stability. It also helps protect the meniscus, your knee’s “shock absorber.”

“The most common cause of ACL rupture is from a traumatic injury,” he says. “Most patients remember hearing a ‘pop’ in their knee, followed by intense pain and swelling.”

Dr. Shah says the goal of ACL reconstruction surgery is to replace the torn ligament with another ligament or tendon.

“The procedure is typically done by knee arthroscopy, using several small ‘keyhole’ incisions to perform the surgery,” he says. Dr. Shah says the surgery is followed by a rehabilitation program that should help return a patient to their sport within six to nine months.

“I enjoy treating athletes of all ages and helping them get back into their game after an injury. It’s one of the reasons I went into Orthopedics,” concludes Dr. Shah, who treats knee and shoulder injuries at Kelsey-Seybold’s Fort Bend Medical and Diagnostic Center in Sugar Land; Spring Medical and Diagnostic Center; and Main Campus near the Texas Medical Center. ​​

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Anup Shah, MD, FAAOS

​I believe in patient education and teamwork. This facilitates a partnership and bond to help treat and manage health conditions.