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Torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament
(Torn ACL or ACL Injury)

Torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament (Torn ACL) Facts

  • The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of four ligaments that help stabilize the knee. It is the most commonly injured knee ligament.
  • ACL injury usually occurs when the knee is hyperextended (straightened) and a pivot occurs simultaneously. The injury may occur with or without contact.
  • Women have an increased risk of ACL injury because of differences in anatomy, muscle mass, and training.
  • Symptoms of ACL tear include hearing a loud pop as the ligament tears, pain, knee swelling, and difficulty walking.
  • Diagnosis is made clinically by physical examination and usually confirmed by MRI.
  • Surgery and rehabilitation is the most commonly suggested treatment, though in patients who are sedentary or do little sports activity, a nonoperative approach is a possibility.
  • Postoperative rehabilitation may take six to nine months to return to full activity.
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