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Recognizing the Early Signs of a Torn ACL

Apr 10, 2019
Soccer Player Hurts Knee

Injuries to the knee can range from minor and annoying to major and devastating, and sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference at the time of injury. The knee is made up of many complex structures, one of the most important being the ACL. Read on to learn more about this crucial ligament, common ways it gets injured, signs and symptoms of ACL injuries, and what can be done about an ACL tear.

What is the ACL?

The ACL, or Anterior Cruciate Ligament, is one of the major ligaments that connects bone to bone and stabilizes the knee. Specifically, the ACL prevents forward movement of the tibia off of the femur, also known as knee hyperextension. It is a thick, fibrous ligament that plays a very important role in movement and stability, yet it is commonly injured during rigorous activity.

How Does It Get Injured?

The most common way the ACL gets injured is during sports or activities where movement is suddenly stopped, when pivoting with a planted foot, by receiving a direct blow to the knee, while landing after jumping, or where a change in direction puts too much strain on the ligament. It can be sprained or torn, and it commonly happens while playing basketball, soccer, football, tennis, volleyball, skiing, etc. Many people say they experience a popping sensation when the ligament is injured, and bearing weight may become difficult or impossible.

What Are the Early Signs of an ACL Tear?

While some ACL injuries are impossible to miss or ignore, others are a little more ambiguous. Of course, the best course of action is to see an orthopedic surgeon to be professionally assessed, but watching for early signs can let you know when it’s time to seek possible treatment.

Some symptoms of ACL injuries include knee pain, swelling of the joint, experiencing a popping sensation after landing on it, loss of range of motion in the injured knee, difficulty bearing weight, inability to continue regular activity, or a feeling of instability in the joint. If you experience any of these symptoms, especially if you can identify the moment the injury occurred, seek medical evaluation.

X-ray of Knee

What Can Be Done About It?

The knee is a complex joint made up of many bones, tendons, ligaments, and other tissues that work together to provide both mobility and stability. Because of the complexity of the structure, proper care and treatment is very important if you want to make a full recovery and be able to resume your regular activities. Scopes, ACL repair surgeries, and other treatment options may be recommended after a full evaluation.

If you suspect that you’ve injured your ACL, reach out and set up an appointment with the orthopedic surgeons in Suffolk County, NY, at Peconic Bay Medical Center today!