What is an ACL injury?

ACL is the anterior cruciate ligament, which is one of the four main stabilizing ligaments of the knee.

The role of the ACL is to prevent forward movement of the lower leg bone (tibia) from the femur. This ligament is important in knee stability during contact sports and those that involve rapid changes in direction and pivoting movements.

During the injury, you may hear a pop or crack sound, have swelling of the knee afterwards, and have difficulty bending or straightening the knee fully.

What can you do?

Stop play or competition. Apply RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) immediately to the knee to decrease pain and swelling.

When to Seek Immediate Medical Attention

It is important to seek medical attention if you have severe knee pain associated with inability to put weight on the affected leg, or onset of numbness or weakness of the lower leg.

What can we do to help you?

A doctor will examine the knee joint to determine if you have an ACL injury or other type of knee injury. In some cases, imaging studies may be ordered.

Depending on the severity of the ACL injury and your usual activity level, you will likely be referred to see a physiotherapist and to wear an appropriate knee brace. If you have a complete ACL tear, you will likely be referred to see an orthopaedic surgeon. Surgery involves either repairing or reconstructing the ACL.

Physiotherapy is important for pre-surgery rehabilitation program to restore normal motion, strengthen the muscles around the knee, and to reduce the swelling in preparation for surgery. This will help you to have the best function and recovery possible following the surgery.