A sprain or tear of the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is a knee injury sustained by athletes and weekend warriors alike. It can occur with simple activities of daily living.
The ACL is part of the complicated network of tendons and ligaments that help stabilize and support the knee. This ligament can become torn and incompetent during a variety of different activities including football, basketball, wrestling, soccer, and even cheerleading. ACL injuries are most common in cutting, pivot, or shift type activity and can even occur with landing from a jump. ACL tears can occur in children, teenagers, and adults of any age.
When an ACL injury is suspected, an MRI may be ordered to confirm the severity of the injury. In most cases, surgery will be needed to replace the ligament. The surgery is often followed by a physical therapy program. Recovery time from ACL injuries can range from six months to more than a year.
If you suspect you may have an ACL injury, it is important to avoid putting weight directly on the affected knee and get evaluated as soon as possible.