ACL Tear


An ACL tear is a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament, one of the most important ligaments that stabilize the knee. While particularly common in professional athletes, this injury can affect anybody.


What does an ACL tear feel like?

Many victims of ACL tears report a loud popping sound at the moment of the injury, followed by a buckling of the knee, heavy swelling, and instability in the joint. The knee may still give out or buckle after swelling subsides. If a meniscus tear accompanies the torn ACL, patients may also feel a sharp pain inside the knee. Most patients are unable to place weight on the affected knee, though some may still be able to walk with a limited range of motion.

How do you tear your ACL

An ACL tear is caused by a sudden change of force and direction. As a result, any activity that entails abrupt stops, frequent jumping, and sharp pivoting such as football, soccer, or skiing increases the likelihood of a tear, though even an everyday occurence such as a sharp turn off of a curb can cause a tear, as well.


Partial ACL tear

As the name suggests, a partial tear is an incomplete rupture of the ACL. Patients with partial tears usually recover more quickly than those with complete tears, and some may even retain some stability in the affected knee.

Complete ACL tear

A complete ACL tear is a total rupture of the ACL. More common than a partial tear, it completely destabilizes the affected knee. If left untreated, the injured knee could suffer from chronic instability, leading to frequent buckling.


If you think you’ve suffered an ACL tear, or still struggle with instability caused by a previous tear, you should schedule an appointment with an orthopedic specialist to receive a formal diagnosis. After reviewing your medical history and conducting a physical exam, your specialist may order an X-ray and an MRI to confirm the initial diagnosis. Based on the results, your specialist will recommend a specific course of treatment. With some combination of medication, arthroscopic ACL reconstruction, and physical therapy, most patients can expect a complete recovery.

If you are in pain from an ACL tear, there are many treatment options available that can get you back on track in no time. Find out more here or book an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists here.



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