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What Is an ACL?

The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) is a thick cord made of long collagen strands that are woven together and act as a key stabilizer of the knee. It connects your thighbone to your shin bone and allows the shin bone to glide through a healthy and stable range of motion. An ACL tear can be a painful and debilitating condition.

playing basketball

ACL Tear Causes and Risk Factors

By far the the most commonly injured ligament in the knee, an ACL tear occurs when a sudden change in movement occurs in the knee. This is seen frequently among athletes when:

  • They rapidly change direction
  • Land after jumping
  • Slow down after running

When the painful tear of the ACL takes place it is unwoven like a braided rope causing instability of the knee that will not heal on its own. Though the injury can happen to anyone, it is typically seen in women and girls.

Symptoms of an ACL Injury

Signs and symptoms of an ACL injury usually include:

  • Severe pain and inability to continue activity
  • A feeling of “popping” in the knee
  • Range of motion loss and not being able to bear weight on the joint
  • Swelling that begins within a couple of hours
  • Noticeable instability of the knee

When Surgery Is Necessary

When experiencing chronic knee pain, or have just sustained a knee related injury, you should contact Dr. Madsen for a diagnosis and treatment. Early diagnosis of an ACL tear can help speed up recovery time and prevent loss of strength and motion, so you can get back to doing what you love.

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