OrthoGeorgia Orthopaedic Surgeon, Richard Thomas MD, Discusses ACL Tears

Sports Medicine Videos | May 9, 2022

What Causes ACL Injuries?

I’m Richard Thomas. I’m a fellowship sports medicine trained orthopaedic surgeon at OrthoGeorgia. I take care of a lot of ACL injuries. It’s a very common injury that we see in our athletes, specifically in our cutting athletes, such as football players, soccer players, and even golfers such as Tiger Woods have had an ACL tear in the past. Typically when you tear your ACL, it’s from a non-contact injury playing sports, in which people tend to feel a pop in their knee. They get almost immediate swelling and they’re unable to keep on playing whatever sport they’re playing because of the instability of the knee.

How are ACL Injuries Diagnosed?

Initially I evaluate the injured athlete either on the sidelines or in the office, and usually I can make a diagnosis just with a physical exam because their knee has a specific looseness or laxity to it. That will typically lead to me ordering an MRI

Who is the Best Candidate for ACL Surgery?

Not everybody who has an ACL injury needs to have surgery, but most cutting athletes do. If you’re a 50 year old accountant that doesn’t play cutting sports, you probably don’t even need to have your ACL reconstructed. However, the 18 year old soccer player, football player, basketball player probably should get a surgical procedure to reconstruct that ACL. 

How is an ACL Reconstruction Performed? 

Essentially, we reconstruct these ACLs using your own tissue, whether it be your patellar tendon or your hamstring. It takes me about 45 minutes to an hour to do the surgery. It takes about six months to recover through physical therapy and to get a completely normal knee after that surgery. I’m happy to see any ACL injuries or any knee injuries for that matter, and if you are a cutting athlete that has an injury in which the knee swells up, that’s probably the time to call me. I’d be happy to see you.

About Dr. Thomas

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Dr. Richard Thomas is a board certified orthopaedic surgeon at OrthoGeorgia, fellowship trained in sports medicine. He has a special interest in athletic injuries, ACL reconstruction, arthroscopy of the shoulder and knee, fracture care, and total joint reconstruction (knee and shoulder). Dr. Thomas is active in the sports world and enjoys working with our youth covering sports events and providing athletic screenings for high school and college athletes. He is certified to perform Robotic Arm Assisted Knee Surgery (MAKO) for resurfacing of the knee and is a member of the Arthroscopy Association of North America (AANA). Patients can meet with Dr. Thomas at our Macon office (Building A). 

Comprehensive Sports Medicine Care at OrthoGeorgia

At OrthoGeorgia, patients can meet with Sports Medicine Board Certified and Fellowship Trained Orthopaedic Surgeons who will assess and diagnose their injury and choose the best treatment path for each individual patient. We focus on returning each athlete back to play with full range of motion, strength, endurance, and function they had prior to their injury. Along with sports medicine care, we provide orthopaedic services including a Surgery Center, Orthopaedic Urgent Care, Physical and Occupational Therapy, Diagnostic Center, DME/Casting, Workers’ Compensation, a pharmacy, and a Bone Health Clinic. To learn more or to schedule an appointment in Macon (Building A or our Macon Spine and Orthopaedic Center), Warner Robins, Kathleen, Milledgeville, Dublin, or Hawkinsville, please contact us today!

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Personalized Orthopaedic Care in Central Georgia

At OrthoGeorgia, we want to help you live a healthier and more comfortable life by giving those in Macon, Warner Robins, Kathleen, Milledgeville, Dublin, Hawkinsville, and the surrounding areas convenient access to the highest quality care. Whether you have been suffering from a sports injury or a common orthopaedic condition, we will determine the cause of your discomfort and craft a personalized treatment plan to bring you relief. To learn more about our services and our physicians, or to schedule an appointment at OrthoGeorgia, please contact us today.

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