Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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ACL Tear Overview

Another name for ACL Tear is Cruciate Ligament Knee Injury.

What is a cruciate ligament knee injury?
A person with a cruciate ligament tear has a knee sprain that has injured one of two ligaments that are inside of the knee joint. Cruciate injuries are one of the most common ligament injuries in the knee. There are two cruciate ligaments in the knee: anterior cruciate and posterior cruciate. Both of the cruciate ligaments stabilize the knee joint during range of motion. The anterior cruciate is most commonly injured during sports or recreational activities. The posterior cruciate is most commonly injured in a motor vehicle accident, when the knee strikes the dashboard, driving it backwards.

What are the symptoms of a cruciate ligament knee injury?
Symptoms of a cruciate ligament knee injury include hearing a pop at the time of the injury, sudden knee pain, knee swelling, tenderness, and difficulty walking. There may be popping or clicking within the knee and it may occasionally buckle or give out.

How does the doctor treat a cruciate ligament knee injury?
Treatment depends on the cruciate that is sprained as well as the severity of the sprain. Treatment includes rest, elevation, cold compresses, elastic wrapping, and crutches. More severe sprains will require splinting. The most severe sprains may require surgery.

Continue to ACL Tear Symptoms

Last Updated: Feb 7, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed ACL Tear References
  1. Beynnon BD, Johnson RJ, Abate JA, Fleming BC, Nichols CE. Treatment of anterior cruciate ligament injuries, part I. Am J Sports Med. 2005 Oct;33(10):1579-602. [16199611]
  2. Boutin RD, Fritz RC. MRI of snow skiing and snowboarding injuries. Semin Musculoskelet Radiol. 2005 Dec;9(4):360-78. [16315118]
  3. Hayashi R, Kitamura N, Kondo E, Anaguchi Y, Tohyama H, Yasuda K. Simultaneous anterior and posterior cruciate ligament reconstruction in chronic knee instabilities: surgical concepts and clinical outcome. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2008 Jun 7. [18536904]
  4. Iversen MD, Friden C. Pilot study of female high school basketball players' anterior cruciate ligament injury knowledge, attitudes, and practices. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2008 Jun 18. [18627558]
  5. Oztekin HH, Boya H, Ozcan O, Zeren B, Pinar P. Pain and affective distress before and after ACL surgery: A comparison of amateur and professional male soccer players in the early postoperative period. Knee. 2008 Jul 15. [18635361]
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