One of the most highly recognized knee injuries is an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) sprain or tear. Active individuals and athletes who participate in high-demand activities are more likely to injure this ligament. ACL injuries result in significant time lost from sports or activities of any kind. If you have injured your ACL, you may require surgery to regain full function of your knee. This will depend on several factors, such as the severity of your injury and your activity level.
Injuring Your ACL
Your ACL can be injured in several ways:
- Changing direction rapidly
- Stopping suddenly
- Slowing down while running
- Landing from a jump incorrectly
- Direct contact or collision, such as a football tackle
- Pain with swelling. Within 24 hours of the injury, your knee will swell. Even though pain and swelling may go away on their own, your knee will probably be unstable as you return to activity. Resuming activity puts you at risk for causing further damage to the cushioning cartilage (meniscus) inside your knee.
- A “popping” noise or feeling like your knee is “giving out” during movement
- Loss of full range of motion
- Tenderness along the joint line
- Discomfort while walking