Signs of an ACL Tear

by / Thursday, 28 February 2019 / Published in Blog

The knee joint is formed by three bones – the thighbone or femur, the shinbone or tibia and the kneecap or patella. The kneecap sits in front of the joint. These bones are connected with each other by ligaments.

There are 4 main ligaments in the knee. These ligaments act like strong cables holding the bones together and keeping the knee stable. Out of these 4 ligaments, the cruciate ligaments control the back and forth motion of the knee. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in front and the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) in back. The ACL runs diagonally in the middle of the knee for rotational stability.

An ACL injury refers to a tear in the ACL ligament. It may occur during sports that involve sudden stops, jumping, pivoting or collisions with other players. Such sports can be basketball, soccer, football, tennis, skiing, volleyball, and gymnastics.

Symptoms of an ACL tear include –

  • a loud “pop” in the knee
  • swelling
  • instability
  • tenderness at knee joint
  • loss of range of motion
  • too painful to bear weight

If your symptoms show an ACL tear, your orthopedic surgeon will confirm the diagnosis and provide the most appropriate treatment options.

Treatment for an ACL injury may include immobilization, rest, medication and physical therapy. In severe cases, surgery may be needed. Since ACL tears cannot be repaired by suturing back together, the ligament needs to be reconstructed with a tissue graft. Surgery is followed by physical therapy to restore range of motion and to strengthen the knee so that you can get back in your game.