Common Sport Injuries: What You Should Know About a Torn ACL

The ACL is the anterior cruciate ligament, and it is located within the knee. Along with the posterior cruciate ligament, or the PCL, this ligament is located inside the knee joint in order to prevent the bottom and top of the knee from moving or sliding. Torn ACLs are common injuries suffered in playing sports, and without a normal functioning ACL, the knee will be unstable and may buckle without warning. Information about the causes, symptoms, and treatment of torn ACLs are discussed below.

Torn ACL Causes

Most ACL injuries occur after trauma, most commonly after a fitness or sport injury. The ligament becomes stretched or can tear when the knee twists and locks at the same time while the foot remains planted. Common sports that see these types of injuries include gymnastics, soccer, football, and basketball.

Torn ACL Symptoms

When an acute injury to the ACL occurs, the individual will commonly describe developing intense knee pain after hearing a loud popping sound. The severity of the pain will make walking or bearing weight extremely difficult, and after a few hours, the joint will swell. If the injured athlete does not get treatment, the individual will likely experience recurrent swelling and pain, and the knee may give way without warning especially when climbing stairs or walking along uneven ground.

Torn ACL Treatment

When treating an ACL injury, the major issue concerns whether the patient needs surgery in order to repair the tear. To determine if this is an appropriate treatment option, the surgeon will generally discuss the person’s activity level, as less active patients may be better suited for non-surgical treatment like physical therapy. For patients who do complete the surgery, follow up care, including rehabilitation and physical therapy, are also essential in order to return strength and range of motion to the injured knee.