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How Do You Know If You Tore Your ACL?

illustration comparing a normal knee with a knee with a torn ACL

What do Tom Brady, J.J. Watt, and Rob Gronkowski all have in common? At the top of their game, these professional athletes tore their ACL and returned to football stronger than ever. A torn ACL used to be a “game changer.” Forgive the pun, but now even you can maintain your lifestyle afterwards! But, exactly how do you know if you tore your ACL?

What Is The ACL?

Your ACL is one of the major ligaments in your knee, namely the anterior cruciate ligament. It can become torn during sports or any fitness activity. Common causes or sudden stops, pivoting with your foot planted, landing awkwardly from a jump, a blow to the knee, or a sudden change in direction.

illustration comparing a normal knee with a knee with a torn ACL

It can happen to pros, weekend warriors, or even you. If you suspect you have fully or partially torn your ACL, it is essential to get a prompt and accurate diagnosis from Greater Rochester Orthopaedics so you can get the proper treatment.

Signs You Have Torn Your ACL

It will be fairly clear to you if your ACL becomes torn. There are a number of signs to watch out for. They include the following:

  • The first thing you will hear is a loud popping sound. The pop is so loud it can even be heard by others. This is caused by the tightness of the ligament itself, so when it becomes torn, it is similar to the sound of a rubber band pulled too tightly and breaking apart.
  • The next thing will be the pain. You will feel it on the backside and side of the knee. If you try to move, twist your knee, or put any pressure on it, the pain will become more severe.
  • Expect to see swelling develop quickly. Our knees have both fluids and blood, and if it becomes damaged, rapid swelling will appear.
  • The ACL provides stability for your knee. When it becomes damaged, it loses its ability to keep your steady on your feet. You will find it almost impossible to place just a little or any weight on it.
  • Your knee will be very weak and it will be difficult to move normally.
  • With a torn ACL, the knee may give out and collapse.

Get Prompt Treatment

Don’t attempt to return to normal activities without a proper diagnosis, even if the swelling goes down.

If you experience these signs of a torn ACL, see a trained orthopedic specialist like Greater Rochester Orthopaedics. X-rays and an MRI will be completed to find out how badly your ACL has been torn.

Don’t wait to contact Greater Rochester Orthopaedics if you suspect you may have torn your ACL.

As always, if you have any further questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please call (585) 295-5476 or request an appointment online today.