Torn ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tear): Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019

A torn ACL refers to a tear in the anterior cruciate ligament of the knee. This is one of four ligaments that stabilize the knee joint. Women are more likely than men to develop a torn ACL.

Signs and symptoms of a torn ACL include knee pain, knee instability, swelling, or stiffness of the knee. Hearing a pop at the time of injury is another possible sign. Other associated symptoms can include bruising, limping or gait disturbances, pain when standing, and difficulty walking.

Causes of a torn ACL

An injury, specifically, an injury resulting from a sudden change in direction or pivot against a locked knee, causes a torn ACL. Basketball, football, gymnastics, and soccer are sports that most often lead to a torn ACL.

Other Causes of Torn ACL Symptoms and Signs

REFERENCE:

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

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Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019
References
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.