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What Happens When You Tear Your ACL

What Happens When You Tear Your ACL

When you tear your ACL, you typically experience a popping sound or sensation in your knee when you have the injury. It begins to swell and causes pain when putting weight on it. This common injury happens to 100,000-200,000 Americans every year.

At Crescent City Orthopedics, we’re ACL specialists with the expertise to treat ACL tears. To help you understand more about this injury, let’s look at an overview of the function of your knee. 

Understanding the makeup of your knee

Your knee has four ligaments that help it operate with fluid movement, which include the following:

Your ACL sits at the front of your knee and connects your thigh to your shin bone. It’s responsible for stopping you when moving forward and helping your thigh bone and shin bone with rotation.

Why ACL tears aren’t all the same

When we evaluate the severity of your ACL tear, we classify its injury into one of three categories:

Grade one

This classification means that you have stretched your ligament, but it’s still strong enough to stabilize your knee.

Grade two

A grade two category indicates that your ligament has not only been stretched, but it’s been loosened, causing a partial tear.

Grade three

If you have a grade three injury, your ligament has been torn into two pieces, which is very severe.

An ACL tear can also accompany other injuries to your knee.

Signs of a torn ACL

ACL injuries usually occur during a noncontact moment. ACL tears usually occur when you stop running too quickly, land awkwardly, or change direction too quickly.

As soon as the injury occurs, you might feel:

If you think you’ve torn your ACL, you should book an appointment with our team as soon as possible. We can evaluate your knee and advise proper treatment immediately.

Treating your ACL injury

Treatments vary depending on the severity of your injury. No matter how intense your injury is, you should immediately apply the RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevate) method.

After a medical evaluation, we will talk with you about your options. Unfortunately, an ACL tear won’t heal on its own. However, you can strengthen the surrounding muscles with physical therapy to give your knee the support it needs.

You may want to consider surgery to return to your sport and participate at 100%. During your consultation, we discuss the projected outcomes of your various options to help you make the best decision.

To learn more about an ACL tear, call us at our office in Metairie, Louisiana. You can also click here to use our online scheduler.

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