The ACL is the anterior cruciate ligament located in the knee. This ligament helps to prevent the tibia (shin bone) from sliding in front of the femur (thigh bone). It also provides rotational stability to the knee.
An ACL strain or tear is a common sports injury. This kind of injury most commonly happens during a sudden stop, jumping or changing directions. It can also occur during a direct contact collision. Many people hear a “popping” noise and feel their knee give out when injuring their ACL. Other symptoms can include swelling, loss of full range of motion or discomfort while walking.
To help with swelling rest, ice, compression and elevation should be done to the injured knee. Several weeks of physical therapy can be prescribed to help further reduce swelling and work on range of motion. For many cases, ACL surgery will need to be performed to regain full range of motion in the knee, primarily if you’re an athlete wanting to return to your sports. After knee surgery, more physical therapy will be done to restore stability and function of the knee. Click here to download a PDF about the ACL Reconstruction procedure.