Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injuries

by TOI Admin February 21, 2017

by Edward M. Jaffe, M.D.

The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) is one of the most important structures that provide stability to the knee. When the knee is forced into positions that stretch the ACL beyond its normal length, this important ligament can tear. These injuries may occur during sports, typically while changing directions with the planted foot not rotating or during a collision with the force on the outer (lateral) or front (anterior) part of the knee. Often times the tear is accompanied by an audible "pop".

The most common symptoms after an ACL tear include pain, swelling of the knee, and an inability to bear weight. Once the initial swelling and pain resolve, typically after a few weeks, there is often a sense of instability or giving way of the knee.

Once the initial pain and swelling have resolved and knee motion has improved, your orthopedic surgeon can help you decide on the treatment option that is best suited for you. As the technique of surgical reconstruction for torn ACLs has improved, along with refined post-operative physical therapy methods, more and more people opt for surgical reconstruction.

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