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

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 torn acl symptoms and signs


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