ACL: ANTERIOR CRUCIATE LIGAMENT INJURY
An anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear is an injury to the knee commonly affecting athletes. The ACL is one of the major ligaments (bands of tissue) connecting the thigh bone to the shin bone. The ACL may be partially torn, or completely torn. It can tear if you:
- Twist your knee while keeping your foot planted on the ground
- Stop suddenly while running
- Suddenly shift your weight from one leg to the other
- Jump and land on an extended (straightened) knee
- Stretch the knee farther than you should
- Experience a direct hit to the knee
When you tear the ACL, you may feel a sharp, intense pain or hear a loud “pop” or snap. You might not be able to walk on the injured leg because you can’t support your weight through your knee joint. Usually, the knee will swell immediately and you might feel that your knee “gives way” when you walk or put weight on it.
Most people who sustain an ACL tear will undergo surgery to repair the tear; however, some people may avoid surgery by modifying their physical activity so that they don’t put a lot of stress on the knee. This will often depend on the severity of the tear, which is determined by your medical doctor.