Does knee pain and immobility have you questioning whether or not you have an ACL tear? ACL stands for anterior cruciate ligament. This ligament is one of the largest and most important on your knee. There are two main ways an ACL typically tears. First, a tear can occur while playing sports that require jumping or quick movement and change of direction. Second, ACL tears can also occur when someone comes in direct contact with another or the knee can no longer hold their weight. How do you know if you have a torn ACL? Here are 5 signs to look for.
You hear a “pop”
Many people who tear their ACL say they can hear a “pop” sound when the injury occurs. The sound tends to be loud enough that nearby spectators can also hear it. The “pop” is usually followed by a shift in the knee joint.
Your knee is unstable
The ACL is an essential part of stabilizing the knee joint. When it tears, the knee becomes unstable pretty quickly. If the tear occurs because of a pivoting movement, the knee may give out when the tear occurs.
Your knee is swollen
After an ACL tear, the knee becomes swollen.The swelling can escalate quickly because the knee joint is one of the largest in the body. After a tear blood vessels are ruptured filling the joint space with blood. This causes the joint to become warm and turn red.
Your knee is painful
An ACL tear is painful. The intensity of the pain could vary based on the severity of damage to the joint. The more damage there is, the more painful the injury will be.
You lose mobility
When the ACL tears, it is difficult to move the lower section of the leg. This is due to swelling restricting motion at the joint. In many cases, walking will be difficult and assistive devices such as a walker, crutches or stick may be required to walk properly.
When to see a doctor
You should seek immediate medical care if you feel you may have tore an ACL or are experiencing any of the below after an injury to the knee:
- Difficulty walking or standing on the injured knee
- Swelling or pain that remains for over 48 hours
- Trouble supporting your weight on the injured knee
- An odd appearance on any side of the affected knee
If you have an injury affecting your knee or you have any symptoms of an ACL tear, please call us immediately. You can speak to one of our highly skilled orthopedic doctors or come over to US Rehab for an in person examination.