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Torn ACL (cont.)

Torn ACL Symptoms and Signs

The patient usually can notice a loud popping sound as the ligament tears. Bystanders sometimes say that they can hear it as well. Pain is almost immediate. Knee swelling occurs within an hour or two as blood from the ruptured ligament fills the knee joint. 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.

When to Seek Medical Care

Pain and swelling in the knee is never normal, especially if it occurs immediately after an injury, and it is important to seek medical care to assess the joint damage. In addition to pain and swelling, warning signs of a potential ligament damage include giving way and limping.

Initial treatments including RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) are reasonable first steps but should not replace having the knee joint fully evaluated by a health-care professional.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/4/2014

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