In this article we discuss the 5 most common ACL tear symptoms experienced by both professional sports athletes and weekend warriors. Upon incurring a knee injury one of the first questions that is often asked is whether or not the ACL has been ruptured. An ACL injury is of significant concern to athletes due to the importance of the ligament in controlling movement and stability for running and turning actions.
Why is the Anterior Cruciate Ligament so important?
The ACL is critical for controlling movement between the two main bones of the knee, the femur and tibia. The ACL is also important for stopping the tibia sliding out in front of the femur. Tearing or rupturing the ACL causes instability in the knee and can increase the risk of cartilage damage and premature osteoarthritis. The Anterior Cruciate Ligament is most commonly injured whilst exercising or playing sports such as American Football, Basketball, Australian Rules Football, Netball, Hockey and Skiing.
The 5 most common ACL tear symptoms
ACL tear symptoms experienced by an individual athlete can vary in intensity depending on the nature of the incident which caused the ACL to tear in the first place plus whether or not there was any other damage to the knee such as torn cartilage.
The 5 most common ACL tear symptoms experienced by athletes following an ACL rupture include:
- At the moment of injury you may hear a loud popping sound. The dreaded POP is an obvious ACL tear symptom that can also often be heard by bystanders
- Feeling of instability and “giving way”. Giving way of the knee will often occur with a torn ACL in particularly when suddenly changing direction or weight bearing
- Very strong pain. A very common tear symptom is the immediate onset of pain and burning in the knee upon rupture of the ACL
- Lots of obvious swelling of the knee. The ruptured ligament can often cause the knee to fill with blood within one to two hours of injury leading to discomfort and difficulty with walking
- Loss of full range of motion – A torn ACL symptom common to most athletes is that they cannot fully extend the knee or straighten as blood fills the knee
Upon injury of your ACL you are advised to immediately seek the assessment of your trained therapist. In the event that your ACL has been ruptured your next steps will be to evaluate if surgery is an option for you, ACL graft options and to educate yourself on the protocols of your ACL surgery recovery especially in the early stages.