Symptoms of a Torn ACL
The Symptoms of a torn ACL are, unfortunately, very specific, and very
reliable. If you have suffered a knee injury, and are wondering if you
may have torn your ACL, read below to see if you match the symptoms of
ACL knee injury.
not every ACL knee injury presents with the same symptoms, chances are
you will have several of those listed below.
is one of the most reliable symptoms of a torn ACL.
injury involves a disruption of the anterior cruciate ligament. Since
this ligament is within the knee joint, swelling that occurs with a
torn acl is confined within the joint. This means that your entire knee
will swell, often quite a bit.
Your knee will feel very tight, and will look visibly larger than your
uninjured knee. When put side by side, you will be able to tell if it
is swollen. Many people describe it looking like a grapefruit - large
and puffy. Your knee cap may dissappear. This type of swelling is
called an effusion, as it is contained within the joint. ACL knee
injuries will swell very quickly, usually within the first 10 minutes.
This is important to know when you talk to your physician, because it
helps to differentiate your injury from other types of knee injuries
Another very reliable symptom of a torn ACL, pain is very common with
ACL injury. On a rare occasion I will see patients that did not have
any pain with their initial injury, but this is extremely rare. Pain is
usually rated as moderate to severe, 5-9 on a 10 point scale. It is
usually described as sharp initially, and then may become throbbing or
achey as your knee begins to swell.
Trying to straighten or bend the knee often increases pain, and this is
especially true after the knee swells up.
Feeling or Hearing a "Pop"
One of the most common symptoms of a torn ACL is feeling or hearing a
pop during the initial injury. Often times my patients will not be able
to tell me exactly what happened when they hurt their knee, other than
they felt or heard a pop, and it hurt...a lot. The pop may or not
actually be the ACL tearing, or it could be from the force of the femur
and tibia rubbing against each other. If you heard or felt a pop, you
very well may have suffered an ACL knee injury.
Loss of Range of
Because an acl knee injury causes swelling, another one of the symptoms
of a torn ACL is decreased range of motion. Most commonly you will have
trouble bending it, often unable to bend to 90 degrees. It may also be
difficult to completely straighten it out.
Loss of Strength
Symptoms of a torn ACL also include quadriceps weakness.Again, because
of the swelling and injury to the knee, the quadriceps muscles will be
inhibited by the body in order to try to protect the injury. This means
that you will have trouble lifting your leg, or straightening it out,
both because of pain, and a feeling of weakness.
The anterior cruciate ligament is a major stabilizer of the knee. It
helps the joint communicate with the muscles to keep the knee stable.
If it is disrupted, you may have episodes where you knee feels like it
gives out, or buckles. This is especially true when you walk on it, or
try to turn on your injured leg. This is one of the most common
symptoms of a torn ACL.
ACL knee injury is a significant sports injury. If you suffer from any
of the above symptoms of a torn ACL, you should see your family
physician as soon as possible. While no acl injury is exactly the same,
the vast majority have some if not all of these symptoms.
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