Find Treatment for ACL Injuries
The anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, is one of four main ligaments of the knee. ACL injuries are common knee injuries, especially among athletes. These injuries involve a tearing or over stretching of the ligament, and tears can be partial or complete.
ACL Injury Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of a torn ACL are experienced immediately and may include:
- A popping sound at the time of injury
- Pain in the knee, especially when putting weight on it
- Swelling, sometimes occurring a few hours after the injury
- Limited range of motion
- Instability in the knee
ACL Injury Causes
ACL injuries are most commonly experienced during sports or other physical activities that put pressure on the knee:
- Changing direction very suddenly
- Pivoting your body while your foot is planted
- Stopping suddenly
- Landing wrong from a jump
- Receiving a direct hit to the knee
ACL Injury Treatment at UPMC
Treatment and prevention of ACL injuries starts with the RICE approach:
- Rest your leg/knee
- Ice your knee
- Compress your knee with a compression or elastic wrap
- Elevate your knee
After the initial pain and swelling decrease, treatment most often begins with rehabilitation exercises, usually provided by a physical therapist, and a knee brace for support.
If you are an athlete, are very active, or suffering from extensive damage to your knee, your doctor may recommend surgery to repair the ACL injury. During this procedure, a surgeon replaces the damaged portion of the ACL with a healthy piece of tendon (either from another part of your leg or from a tissue bank).
The surgery is performed arthroscopically, with a very small incision through which a scope is inserted. Your surgeon uses this scope and specialized instruments to visualize and make the repairs.
If you’re an athlete or participate in extensive physical activity, you may reduce the risk of an ACL injury by warming up and stretching before you exercise. During your regular workouts, focus on strengthening the muscles around your knees, practice landing jumps safely and incorporate balance training.
UPMC provides advanced diagnostic testing and treatment for ACL injuries, including ACL tears in Wellsboro, Muncy and Williamsport, PA.