Dr. Steven F. Harwin, board certified orthopaedic surgeon, serves as Chief of Adult Reconstructive Surgery of the Hip and Knee, Director of the Total Joint Replacement Bloodless Surgery program and director of the New York International Learning Center for Joint Replacement at Mount Sinai Beth Israel in New York City and has completed visiting fellowships in hip and knee surgery in the United States and Europe. A member of the American College of Sports Medicine, the Association of Professional Team Physicians and the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons, Dr. Harwin is an expert in sports medicine and a range of orthopaedic procedures of the knee, including ACL surgery.
Knee Anatomy and the ACL’s RoleThe knee joint is formed by the intersection of three major bones: the femur, or thighbone, tibia, or shinbone, and patella, or kneecap. A wedge of cartilage called the meniscus cushions the junction of the femur and tibia, while muscles, tendons and ligaments provide support and strength to the knee. Among these ligaments, the anterior cruciate ligament plays a vital role in knee function as it provides rotational stability within the knee and helps keep the tibia in place. When the ACL is torn or stretched, the knee loses stability and strength.
Knee Pain and ACL InjuriesAffecting people of all ages and activity levels, ACL injuries are among the most common orthopaedic ailments of the knee in the United States. Athletes, particularly those that participate in contact sports or activities that put an abnormally high amount of stress on the knee joint, are especially at risk of an ACL tear. Injuries of the ACL often occur in conjunction with damage to the cartilage supporting the knee joint, known as a meniscal tear.
ACL TreatmentLigaments do not benefit from their own blood supply and therefore do not have the ability to heal on their own. As a result, ligament tears are often treated with a combination of non-surgical treatments before surgical intervention is attempted. Patients with a partial ACL tear that does not destabilize the knee during everyday activities may be prescribed a strict regimen of physical therapy and strengthening exercises and may benefit from wearing a knee brace. The types of extreme athletic activities that lead to the ACL tear will have to be avoided during this time.
If surgery is recommended, the torn tendon is surgically reconstructed through a process called autograft that entails a small section of ligament from elsewhere in the body being used to bridge the gap between the torn sides of the damaged ACL. Thanks to the use of state of the art minimally invasive arthroscopic techniques, ACL reconstructive surgery requires less recovery time compared to traditional open surgery.
Find out more about Dr. Harwin and how to make an appointment at his New York City office.
Please note that Dr. Harwin’s practice, The Center for Reconstructive Joint Surgery, is now exclusively focused on hip and knee replacement surgery. He recommends his associate, Dr. Robert Ziets, as your sports medicine physician.