Request Appointment


Ready to make an appointment? Simply complete the fields below. Someone from our office will contact you within 24-48 hours to complete scheduling.

  • MM slash DD slash YYYY
*Do not use for scheduling urgent appointments. For an urgent appointment request, please call the office most convenient to you.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injury


This injury is a tearing of the ACL ligament in the knee joint. The ACL ligament is one of the bands of tissue that connects the femur to the tibia. An ACL tear can be painful. It can cause the knee to become unstable.


Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injury

Causes & Triggers

An ACL tear usually occurs during athletic activity. The ACL can tear during abrupt movements such as sudden stops, pivots or directional changes. The ACL can also tear when a person jumps and lands awkwardly. In some cases, ACL tears are caused by a traumatic injury such as a vehicular accident or a violent tackle.

  • High-impact collision or direct blow
  • Incorrect landing
  • Slowed pace while running
  • Sports injuries (especially soccer, football, basketball)
  • Sudden stopping or directional change
  • Possibly pelvic or lower leg alignment (in females)

Signs & Symptoms

A common symptom of an ACL tear is a popping sound or sensation in the knee at the moment of injury. The knee may be very painful, and it may swell. It may feel unstable. The person may be unable to continue physical activity.

  • Feeling of instability or “giving out”
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Some difficulty and discomfort with walking and range of motion

Tips & Treatment

In some cases, an ACL tear can be treated conservatively in patients who have a low activity level. Nonsurgical options may include crutches, a knee brace, and strengthening and stability exercises. For active patients, surgery and rehabilitation are commonly required.

  • Anterior cruciate ligaments (the crisscross supporters inside of the knee) control the knee’s back-and-forth motion.
  • Severity of ACL injuries are graded as follows:
    • Mild-Grade 1: Light damage, slight stretching of the ligament
    • Moderate-Grade 2: Partial tear; sprained and stretched to point of being “loose”
    • Severe-Grade 3: Complete tear with instability of joint
  • Female athletes are more likely than males to get an ACL injury (in certain sports).
  • Diagnosis is typically made only with a physical exam, although X-rays or an MRI may be ordered.
  • Depending on severity, surgery may be required to restore full function.

Related Procedures

Related Physicians