ACL Injuries

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of four ligaments in the knee. Ligaments are elastic bands of tissue that connect bones to each other and provide stability and strength to the joint. The ACL is located in the center of the knee. It connects the thighbone (femur) to the shinbone (tibia) and controls rotation and forward movement of the shin.

The ACL is one of the most common ligaments to be injured. It is often stretched and/or torn during a sudden twisting movement and is most often injured during sports such as basketball, soccer, football or skiing. ACL injuries can be mild or severe.

Symptoms of an ACL injury include:

  • Feeling or hearing a popping sensation in the knee at the time of injury
  • Pain on the outside and back of the knee
  • Knee swelling soon after the injury
  • Limited knee movement
  • Unstable or buckling feeling in knee or leg

Always see your doctor if you suspect a knee injury. In addition to getting your complete medical history and doing a basic physical exam, he or she may order an X-ray, MRI or similar imaging test in order to correctly diagnose your situation. Further testing could include arthroscopy, a minimally-invasive procedure that inserts a small lighted tube into the joint to look at the inside of the knee.


Treatment for an ACL injury will depend on how severe the tear is, whether other parts of the knee are affected, your overall health and lifestyle and more. The goal of treatment is to make your knee strong and stable again, and to reduce the chance that you will injure it again. Explore treatment options. 


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Symptoms and Screenings for ACL Injuries

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Causes and Preventions for ACL Injuries

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Education and Resources for ACL Injuries

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Support groups for ACL Injuries

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Learn More about ACL Injuries

Vidant Health can connect you to health care professionals to help you understand your condition and guide you through the treatment process. Let’s chat.

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