The ACL is an acronym for the anterior cruciate ligament, one of the four ligaments in the knee that help to keep it strong and stable. This ligament attaches to the lateral condyle, which is a bulge found at the base of the thigh bone at the back of the knee joint. It attaches to the front of the top of the tibia – the large, long bone in the leg. If you have an ACL injury, the knee can’t function.
Signs and Symptoms
When an ACL injury happens, the person feels a severe pain in the knee right away. They may even hear a “pop” as the ligament ruptures. The knee then swells, and the leg can no longer straighten or handle the person’s weight. Damage to the ACL can be caused by a fall, a blow to the knee, or an enormous strain that is put on the knee during physical activity.
A person who believes they’ve injured their ACL should stop what they are doing and perform the RICE procedure. This means that they should rest the knee, ice it, compress it, and elevate it. They should not put ice directly on the knee, but use an ice pack or even a bag of frozen peas if nothing else is at hand.
Once the patient visits our office, we will order imaging tests to make sure that they are suffering from an ACL injury. If the injury is mild, we may prescribe some type of medication and have the patient use crutches until the pain and swelling are gone. If the ACL injury is severe and the ligament has completely ruptured, surgery is needed.