How can I tell if I have an ACL injury?

By St Helena Sports Medicine
December 15, 2017

ACL Surgery Napa CAThe purpose of the anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, is to maintain knee stability. An ACL injury is a tear in a knee ligament that connects the lower and upper leg bone. ACL injuries can be anywhere from mild to extreme. Examples include a complete tear of the ACL or a ligament and a portion of the bone separating from the rest of the bone.

What can cause an ACL injury?

You can injure your ACL if the knee joint is twisted, bent side to side, or bent backward. If you experience more then one of these movements simultaneously, the risk of an ACL injury is higher. ACL injuries are especially common in sports. For instance, an injury can take place when you are quickly changing direction, contact with another person, or landing after jumping. ACL injuries are more likely to happen in individuals over the age of 40.

How do I know if I have an ACL injury?

If you have an acute ACL injury, you may experience any one or combination of the following symptoms:

  • Knee pain that is felt from the front or back.
  • Hearing or feeling a pop when the injury happened.
  • Swelling of the knee shortly after the injury.
  • Inability to fully move knew due to swelling and/or pain.
  • An unstable knee.
  • A knee that gives out or buckles.

In the case of an acute injury, you will likely have to cease whatever activity you were doing because of pain. In some cases you may still be able to walk. Chronic ACL problems are typified by the knee giving out or buckling. This will happen especially if an ACL injury is left untreated.

How to diagnose an ACL injury

If you experience any of the symptoms listed, it would be wise to schedule an appointment with your doctor to determine the cause. Your doctor may ask questions like: How did the knee injury happen? Have you had a knee injury before? He will also test your movement and stability.

Schedule a consultation

At Napa Sports Medicine & Orthopaedics, we are here to help you heal and create a plan to better health. Schedule an appointment today at 707-258-2547.

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