Torn ACL Symptoms

By Matt Paulus, Certified Athletic Trainer

Torn ACL Symptoms

A very common injury today is an injury to the ACL or Anterior Cruciate Ligament of the knee. People usually can notice a loud popping sound as the ligament tears. Pain is almost immediate after injury. The knee starts to swell within an hour or two as blood from the ruptured ligament fills the knee joint. Some people find that walking is difficult, and the knee feels unstable. Because of the fluid within the joint, it may be difficult to fully extend or straighten the knee. Pain and swelling in the knee is never normal, especially if it happens immediately after an injury, and it is important to seek medical care as soon as possible. In addition to pain and swelling, warning signs of potential ligament damage include giving way and limping.

torn acl symptoms

ACL Knee Diagram



Initial Treatment for an ACL Tear

Initial treatments including RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation). Usually, the injured athlete is placed in a knee immobilizer and put on crutches to walk.  Anyone having symptoms associated with this injury should seek out further evaluation from an orthopedic physician who treats this condition.  Most often you physician will order a diagnostic MRI to confirm the diagnosis and to see if other structures in the knee are damaged as well.  The most common sport involved with an ACL tear is football. Go to this link, if you want to learn more about football injuries.

Knee Ligaments

ACL Symptoms and Anatomy

To learn more about torn ACL symptoms and injuries and knee pain in general, you can go to what difference between symptoms acl and mcl tear. 

The JOI Library on has many articles about knee pain and ACL injuries. For an appointment with a JOI MD, please call JOI-2000.

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