What Happens if the ACL is Torn?

Man with his hands on his knee thinking what should I do if I've torn my ACL.

Experiencing Knee Pain or an ACL Injury? Here’s Your Guide to Recovery

The sudden, sharp pain of a knee injury can be alarming. If you’re experiencing a painful ‘pop’ in your knee, you might face an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injury. This cruciate ligament stabilizes your knee, and its tear often occurs due to sudden movements like jumps, twists, or falls.

Immediate Steps for Suspected ACL Injuries

If you suspect an ACL tear, it’s crucial to act swiftly to minimize pain and prevent further damage to your knee. Here’s what you should do:

Cease Activity: Stop any physical activity immediately. Rest is crucial for a suspected ACL injury.

R.I.C.E. Method: Implement the R.I.C.E. method – Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation – to alleviate pain and swelling.

Consult a Specialist: Contact a doctor or orthopedic specialist promptly for a professional evaluation.

Symptoms of ACL Tears and Sprains

Recognizing the symptoms of an ACL injury is key to timely treatment:

  • A popping sound during the injury
  • Rapid swelling
  • Reduced mobility and range of motion
  • Difficulty bearing weight on the knee
  • A sense of instability or ‘looseness’ in the knee

Can You Walk with a Torn ACL?

While it’s possible to walk with a minor ACL tear, it’s not advised. Walking can aggravate the injury, leading to further damage. Consult a specialist for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

Understanding ACL Tears: Causes and Risks

ACL injuries are common in sports but can also result from accidents. Knowing the causes helps in prevention:

Sports like basketball, football, and skiing

Sudden stops, turns, and side movements

The Risks of Delaying Treatment for an ACL Tear

Ignoring a minor ACL tear can lead to severe complications:

  • Increased tear size and pain
  • Greater knee instability
  • Potential for additional knee injuries, leading to osteoarthritis

Treatment Options for ACL Tears

Treatment depends on the injury’s severity:

Nonsurgical: Small tears may heal with physical therapy, R.I.C.E., and lifestyle adjustments.

Surgical:Larger tears, especially in athletes, typically require reconstructive surgery followed by rehabilitation.

Healing Time and Recovery

Nonsurgical: Approximately three months with physical therapy.

Surgical: Recovery varies, sometimes up to a year, depending on individual circumstances and adherence to rehabilitation.

Tennessee Orthopaedic Clinics: Your Partner in ACL Recovery

Tennessee Orthopaedic Clinics specializes in helping athletes and non-athletes across East Tennessee recover from ACL injuries. With multiple locations, including Knoxville, Oak Ridge, Sevierville, and Lenoir City, our board-certified orthopedic surgeons are ready to assist you. Schedule your consultation today and take the first step towards effective ACL recovery.