ACL Knee Injury

An anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury is a knee injury that often occurs when a person is involved in some kind of athletic or sporting activity. The majority of ACL injuries do not happen as a result of direct contact, but are instead caused by some kind of twisting movements of the knee. One of the most common is when the foot becomes stuck to the ground.

ACL injuries range from sprains to ruptures, and everything in between. The recovery for an ACL injury after surgery with an experienced knee surgeon in Pottstown, PA can take months to recover from if the injury is severe enough.

What is the ACL?

The anterior cruciate ligament is one of four ligaments located in the knee. It gets its name because it is located in the front of the knee (anterior) and is shaped like a cross (cruciate). The ACL sits deep inside the knee joint, controlling the stability of the knee and preventing the lower part of the leg from twisting too much or sliding too far forward.

What happens when the ACL tears?

When the ACL becomes overstretched – which often happens if the knee is twisted in an awkward way or is bent backward too far – the ligament can become injured. If only some of the fibers of the ligament are torn, then it is a partial tear. If the ligament tears completely, then the injury is a rupture. If the action that injures the ACL is severe enough, the nearby medial collateral ligament and cartilage can also sustain damaged.

What are some causes of ACL knee injuries?

Non-contact injuries are the main cause of tearing or rupturing of the ACL. This can happen if a person twists their knee awkwardly, such as quickly changing direction when running. If a person lands awkward when jumping, that can also cause an ACL tear or rupture. Coming to a sudden stop when running or hyper-tending the knee can also cause ACL injuries.

Contact injuries are only responsible for 20 percent of ACL tears or ruptures. The most common is when a person suffers some kind of blow to the side of their knee when their foot is firmly on the ground.

Sports activities are not the only way that a person can suffer an ACL injury. A knee pain doctor has treated many patients who suffered ACL tears or ruptures from car accidents, slip and fall accidents, or even just from everyday wear and tear of the knee.

What are symptoms of an ACL injury?

Some of the common symptoms that can indicate that a person has suffered an ACL injury include:

·       Popping or cracking noise when the ligament tears or ruptures.

·       The knee swells up, usually within six hours of the injury. If the injury is only a small tear, it may take a few days or there may be no swelling at all.

·       Immediate pain.

·       The knee feels unstable and may buckle up or give out.

·       Movement is often restricted right after the injury.

Thanks to Premier Osteoarthritis Center of Pennsylvania for their insight into ACL knee injuries.