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ACL Tear

The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) can be torn if the knee is pulled or twisted in an unnatural way. Injuries to the ACL are especially common in sports where side-to-side or pivoting movement of the knee is required; soccer, basketball, skiing, and football are frequent culprits. An injured ACL is associated with the following symptoms:

  • An audible pop or snapping upon injury
  • Immediate and sustained swelling in the knee
  • Instability in the knee that can cause it to give out
  • Inability to bear weight
  • Significant pain that does not diminish in the hours following the injury
  • A feeling of fullness in the knee

Elderly, less active patients may not require surgery following an ACL injury—if the overall stability of the knee is healthy and the patient has a low activity level, the physician may recommend non-surgical options. For young athletes, however, surgery is usually needed. The torn ligament must be replaced with a tissue graft, which will then form the base for the new ligament to grow on.

Videos: Preventing and Recovering from ACL Tears

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