Jarrett Collins scooped up the football like he’d done a million times before, dropping back to find an open receiver when he felt a helmet smash into his left knee and he crumpled to the field. A high school quarterback who has played the sport since he was a child, he knew immediately that he’d torn his ACL.
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears are common in the fall when contact sport seasons like football and soccer heat up. Tears leave the knee unstable and it can give out with the slightest movement, even just walking.
While surgery is not always the answer, anyone who plays sports that place stress on the knee (this could include non-contact sports like golf and tennis, which both require the knee to pivot) will need to consult with an orthopedic specialist.
“Even if the knee starts to feel normal again and the swelling goes down, just a simple turn to get out of the car can disable the knee again,” explains Robert Shalvoy, MD, executive chief of orthopedics for Care New England.
Dr. Shalvoy is the only orthopedic surgeon in the area who uses a non-invasive, computer-guided approach to ACL repair. The benefits to such treatment are:
- More precise repair to the ligament, resulting in better knee function.
- Quicker recovery time. Athletes are playing again in as little as nine months.
- Individualized surgery, which means a more normal knee in the long run.
“When you’re working in a tight space, like the area where the ACL goes through the knee, being able to precisely place the repair is crucial. That’s why I started doing this type of surgery years ago,” Dr. Shalvoy says.