Tearing one’s anterior cruciate ligament, also known as the ACL, is an extremely common sports injury. Your ACL runs from your shinbone through the middle of your knee, where it attaches to the femur. The ACL muscle is relatively small but very important to prevent your knee from turning and injury. ACL injuries are common during athletic activity that involves pivoting and turning the knee including basketball and soccer.

Only your sports medicine or orthopedic physician can properly determine if you have in fact torn your ACL. However, there are telltale signs of a torn ligament that may indicate an ACL injury. If you are in pain, or if you are experiencing the following symptoms, be sure to visit our office immediately.

  • Can you walk? A torn ACL will prevent you from walking. In fact, your entire knee may give out from an ACL injury, preventing any movement whatsoever.

  • Can you bend your knee? ACL injuries often cause you to lose the range of motion within your knee. If you cannot bend your knee at a 90-degree angle or cannot straighten your leg at the knee, it’s likely you have an ACL injury.

  • Has your kneecap shifted? Compare the appearance of your healthy knee with that of your injury. If your injured kneecap is no longer in the same position, it is very likely that you’ve torn your ACL.

  • Are you in extreme pain? ACL injuries can be incredibly painful, especially when touched.

  • Swelling? It is very common for fluid to build up in the area where muscles are torn. If the area around your ACL has significant swelling and even bruising, seek attention immediately.

  • Popping? If you are able to move your knee after an injury, which is very unlikely, your knee will make a popping sound.