What is anterior cruciate ligament injury?

Anterior cruciate ligament injury. Anterior cruciate ligament is commonly injured during high demand sports, like soccer, tennis, volleyball and basketball etc. It can be sprained or torn during the game. The severity of its injury is graded into 3 levels:

Grade I: Ligament is sprained and its structural integrity is preserved.
Grade II: Ligament is partially torn.
Grade III: Ligament is completely torn.


Other intra-articular knee structures, e.g. meniscus, articular cartilage and lateral collateral ligament may be injured at the same time.
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Related Questions

What does anterior cruciate ligament ACL injury feel like?

Giving way. Classically people describe a buckling, twisting, or giving way episode in the knee, with a popping feeling. Sometimes the pop is audible. Commonly there is swelling, limited ability to walk, and then associated stiffness+pain; as swelling goes down, pain will go away, but instability (wobbly/buckling) feeling with quick changes of direction persists; some people have minimal pain/swelling. Read more...

What could cause anterior cruciate ligament (acl) injury?

Knee hyperextension. The ACL may tear when certain movements of the knee place a great strain on the acl. Hyperextension of the knee, that is, if the knee is straightened more than 10 degrees beyond its normal fully straightened position, is a very common cause of an torn acl. This position of the knee forces the lower leg excessively forward in relation to the upper leg. Pivoting injuries of the knee with exc. Read more...
Force. An acl injury usually is a rotational or hyperextension force applied to the knee causing mechanical failure of the ligament. People get these injuries as a result of being fatigued, out of shape or are just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Read more...
Pivoting on leg. Twisting or pivoting of your lower leg, while having your foot planted can cause an ACL injury. For example, a football or basketball player plants his/her foot to change direction, and feel their knee just give out on them. That's the classic mechanism for an ACL injury. Read more...

What is done for an anterior cruciate ligament injury?

Immobilization. Initially one is treated non operatively with immobilization with velcro-type knee immobilizer. Graded range of motion then physical therapy. Read more...
Torn or sprained? It depends on if it was fully torn or sprained. If fully torn, may need arthroscopic acl reconstruction (surgery via 'scope'). If sprained, can rehab with physical therapy and use a knee brace. Read more...

What are the tests for anterior cruciate ligament injury?

PE and MRI. The first step is checking for an acl injury is talking to the patient about their injury and doing a good physical exam of the knee (pe). At this point, most skilled doctors will have a strong suspicion that the acl is torn. X-rays are usually done to make sure there isn't a bad bone injury. Often a MRI is obtained to confirm the diagnosis and look for other, associated injuries. Read more...

What are the symptoms of anterior cruciate ligament injury I should be looking for?

Instability. The hallmark of an acl deficient knee is instability or giving way of the knee with higher level activities involving cutting, jumping, pivoting, etc. Some individuals may experience this with routine day to day activities. The initial injury is often described as feeling a "pop" in the knee and followed by development of considerable swelling and variable pain. Read more...
Instability. Pain, swelling, and mostly instability. Buckling or shifting of the knee, as if it is dislocating when you change directions. The knee can appear normal outwardly most of the time with normal activities. Read more...
Pain and instability. Pain and an unstable feeling especially with pivoting type activities may indicate an acl injury. Read more...

What are the causes of the pain in an anterior cruciate ligament (acl) injury?

Swelling/bone bruise. Initial pain after tearing your acl is due to 3 main reasons. 1) bleeding from the tear fills the knee exerting pressure on the capsule which is very sensitive to pressure. 2) the forces that cause the tear cause the femur and tibia to smack together leaving characteristic bone bruises in the femur and tibia. 3) additional injuries, most commonly meniscus tears can add to the pain of acl injury. Read more...
Meniscal tears. Often one or both of the menisci may be torn, as well as the ACL. The pain can come from a meniscal tear that tugs at the nerve endings, resulting in pain. swelling from the injury can cause pain as well. Read more...

How can you prevent anterior cruciate ligament (acl) injury?

Neuromuscular traini. Research has shown that the incidence of non-contact ACL injury can be reduced anywhere from 20% to 80% by engaging in regular neuromuscular training that is designed to enhance proprioception, balance, proper movement patterns and muscle strength. Read more...
Train neuromuscular. There is evidence to show that neuromuscular training including plyometrics, balance, and technique training, as well as heightened awareness of injury biomechanics, reduce the risk of serious injury in female athletes. What specific exericises, sequence, intensity and duration remains unknown. Read more...

How severe is a torn anterior cruciate ligament (acl) injury?

Bad. For most active patients, acl injuries are fairly disabling. Most active patients will experience persistent instability episodes and pain that limit their pursuits of their activities. Therefore, most patients elect to have surgery. Return to all activities after surgery will take at least 6 months. Those patients who are not particularly active may not require surgery. Read more...
Significant. Acl tear is a significant injury to the knee. It can significantly affect the function of the knee. Especially pivoting activities. Acl injury can occur in motor vehicle accidents, falls, and most commonly in sports. The acl can tear in an injury involving knee contact with someone or something or without any knee contact. Acl is generally fixed to restore the best possible function to your knee. Read more...

What causes the pain with an anterior cruciate ligament (acl) injury?

Instability. In the acute phase, the rupture ligament will hurt. Additionally, the knee will fill with blood right after the injury. This hurts. Finally, there are often associated injuries, eg meniscus tears or bone bruises, that hurt. After the acute pain resolves, people with an acl deficient knee are limited by the subtle instability which can be felt as soreness or as instability. Read more...
Meniscal tears. You may have associated meniscal tears, that can be responsible for the pain. Or, the swelling of the knee itself, can be causing the pain. Read more...

What are the common symptoms of anterior cruciate ligament (acl) injury?

Pain & Instability. Acl tears typically are painful, cause knee swelling, and cause the sensation of instability in the knee. Read more...
Pop, pain, swelling. The most common symptoms of acl injury are a non-contact twisting or hyperextension injury to the knee associated with an audible or palpable pop followed by pain and swelling. Contact injuries are also common. Typically, the knee will swell for several days. Even though you may be able to bend it and walk on it eventually, most patients continue to feel instability or "giving way" or buckling. Read more...
Instability. Your knee may feel unstable, or like it wants to "give out" on you, especially with twisting activities. You may have some pain also, particularly if any of the menisci are injured. Read more...