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What is (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) ACL injury?

Most commonly seen as a sports injury in sportsperson and athletes, ACL injury is a tear or sprain of the anterior cruciate ligament. Sportspersons who are involved in basketball, football and tennis often suffer from this injury.

What are the common reasons for ACL Injuries?

During certain intense physical activities and sports, the ACL injuries can happen.

The most common of all include the following:

  • Stopping suddenly while walking
  • Changing your speed when running
  • Incorrect landing from a jump
  • During an accident or sports, a direct blow to the knee.

What are the major symptoms of ACL Tear?

There is usually a “popping” noise along with the injury to the anterior cruciate ligament. It also has a feeling of the knee giving out from under. The other symptoms may include the following:

Not able to perform the whole range of motions at the joint of the knee

Severe tenderness in the joint region

Walking also is not comfortable

Severe pain and swelling:  The knee may begin to start swelling within a day after an ACL injury. There are times when the swelling and pain get resolved on its own after a good rest. But in case the person continues with certain activities it can lead to further instability to the meniscus that functions as a cushion for the knee.

Diagnosis

The doctor, while doing a physical exam will check your knee for tenderness and swelling and compare your injured knee to your uninjured knee.  Your knee will be moved by the doctor in a variety of positions to know the different range of motions.

Further diagnosis will be done on the basis of the physical exam. There will be various other tests required to rule out other causes and to determine the severity of your injury. The common tests are following

X rays – You will be advised to get a X ray done to rule out any bone fracture.

MRI – An MRI uses a strong magnetic field to create images of both soft and hard tissues in the body. The MRI also shows the extent of an ACL injury and also signs of damage to other tissues in the knee and that include the cartilage.

Ultrasound – Ultrasound is used to check for injuries in the tendons, ligaments, and muscles of the knee.

Treatment

ACL Reconstruction Surgery

ACL reconstruction surgery is done so that a new ligament can be created to take the place of the torn ACL. The complete surgical procedure is an outpatient procedure.  

Right before the surgery, most people are given general anesthesia. That would also mean that it is pain free and you would be asleep. The tissue that has to be replace the damaged ACL will usually come from your own body