ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) Injury

Also known as: ACL, torn ACL

What is an ACL Injury?

The anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, is a major ligament located in the knee. If the ACL becomes damaged in some way, this is known as an ACL injury. This injury can range widely in severity from a minor sprain to a major tear that makes it difficult to walk afterward.

What causes ACL injury?

ACL injuries commonly occur in athletes. Actions such as quickly changing direction, pivoting with the foot planted, landing wrong from a jump or a blow to the knee are all common causes of ACL injuries.

What are the symptoms of ACL injury?

Common symptoms of an ACL injury include:
  • pain
  • swelling
  • loss of motion
  • a feeling of instability in the knee

What are ACL injury care options?

Minor ACL injuries often heal with time and rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE). Surgery may be required to reconstruct a more severe ACL injury.

The orthopedic surgeons at Nicklaus Children's Hospital offer a variety of surgical techniques, adapting the surgical plan to meet the needs of patients of varying ages. For younger patients, the focus is on making the repair while protecting the growth plates. In most cases rehabilitation and physical therapy is also needed to help a patient heal after an ACL injury.

Reviewed by: Craig J Spurdle, MD

This page was last updated on: August 19, 2020 10:33 AM

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What is an ACL Injury?

Dr. Craig Spurdle is a pediatric orthopedic surgeon, explains ACL injuries.

What are the signs and symptoms of an ACL injury?

Dr. Craig Spurdle, pediatric orthopedic surgeon explains the signs and symptoms of an ACL injury.

What are the Treatments for ACL Injuries?

Dr. Craig Spurdle is a pediatric orthopedic surgeon, talks about treatment options for ACL injuries.