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ACL Tear Q & A

What is an ACL tear?

An ACL tear is a sprain or tear of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)—one of the most vital bands of tissue. It helps in connecting our thigh bone to our shinbone. ACL injuries happen mostly during sports involving sudden stops or changes in direction, jumping, and landing—basketball, football, etc.

When an ACL injury occurs, an individual hears a pop sound or feels a popping sensation in the knee, which may also end up swelling, feeling unstable, and becoming too painful to bear the weight.

Knee Joint X-ray - Knee Pain Experts in Phoenix AZ

What are the causes of ACL Tears?

ACL injuries usually happen to sportspersons or those who are physically active. Movements that could cause ACL tear:

  • Cutting and changing directions suddenly
  • Stopping suddenly
  • Landing awkwardly after jumping
  • Receiving a blow to the knee or having a collision
  • Landing awkwardly or flat-footed from a jump
  • Changing speed while running
  • Overextending knee joint
  • Walking or running on an uneven surface

Playing sports like basketball, football, and soccer carries the risk of ACL damage.

What are the symptoms of an ACL Tear?

If you experience an ACL tear, you may experience:

  • A popping sound as soon as the injury occurred
  • Swelling of knee within six hours of injury
  • Severe pain and inability to walk
  • Unstable knee
  • Loss of full range of motion

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s advisable to seek medical attention as soon as possible to prevent the injury from getting worse and avoid complications.

How are ACL Tears Treated?

The doctor will advise treating an ACL tear depending on the extent of the injury and the patient’s treatment goals. Many people resume their day-to-day tasks with the injury but may experience trouble with other knee injuries. It’s recommended to seek physical therapy or surgery in severe cases before continuing your everyday life. It’s also crucial to chuck out all the possibilities of broken bones or damaged ligaments.

If you experience pain or think it could be an ACL tear, our in-house doctors at Phoenix Orthopedic Group can advise the ACL tears treatment depending on the severity of your injury. Treatment may include rest and rehabilitation exercises to help you regain strength and stability. In severe tears, ACL reconstruction surgery could be recommended to replace the torn ligament followed by rehabilitation.

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