7 Symptoms of ACL Injury

An anterior cruciate ligament injury, aka ACL injury, happens when the ligament is either stretched, partially torn, or completely torn. The ACL is one of the major ligaments in the knee. It connects your thighbone (femur bone) to your shinbone (tibia) and stabilizes your knee joint. ACL injuries are common in athletes who play sports that involve sudden stops, jumping, or quick changes in direction. This includes sports like football, soccer, skiing, basketball, volleyball, and gymnastics. Symptoms of an ACL injury include knee instability, pain, and a loud pop at the time of injury. Oftentimes, other parts of the knee, like cartilage and surrounding ligaments, are damaged as well. If you have suffered an ACL injury, it is best to seek medical attention sooner than later.

The knee joint is very complex, so prompt and accurate diagnosis is necessary for proper treatment. A physical examination is performed to check for tenderness around the knee, range of motion, and joint looseness. Depending on the results from the physical examination of the knee, an MRI may be necessary as well. Treatment will generally include rest and rehabilitation exercises to strengthen and stabilize the knee. A severe injury can also require surgery to replace the torn ligament prior to rehabilitation.

1. Popping Sound

You’ve probably heard a popping sound in your knee before. Maybe it was when you bent down to pick something up or to sit on the floor. A popping sound in the knee is fairly common and often happens without any pain associated to it. If there is no pain with the popping sound, that’s a good sign. If you do experience pain in your knee when the popping sound happens, a physician may need to examine your knee to determine what caused it to pop. When the ACL gets over stretched it will result in either a partial tear or a full tear. A full ACL tear will make a popping sound when the injury happens.

This injury can be a result of a blow to the side of the knee, a sudden twisting of the knee, or when the leg bends too far backwards. Approximately 50% of ACL tears result in a popping sound that is followed with intense pain and immediate swelling. When you have your physician look at your knee for signs of injury, remember to mention the popping noise you heard as well as any pain that resulted from it. That information can help them when diagnosing the injury.