Alexander E Weber, MD
Orthopaedic surgeon & sports Medicine specialist

How to Recognize the Signs and Symptoms of a Torn ACL

Jul 05, 2023
Understanding the signs and symptoms can help you recognize when you may have experienced a torn ACL and seek appropriate medical attention.

1. Audible "Pop" or Sensation:
At the time of injury, a torn ACL is often accompanied by an audible "pop" sound or a sensation of something giving way in the knee joint. This distinct sound or feeling can indicate a significant ligament injury.

2. Immediate Pain and Swelling:

Following the injury, there is usually immediate pain and swelling in the knee. The intensity of pain can vary, ranging from mild discomfort to severe agony. The swelling is a result of blood rushing into the injured area.

3. Loss of Stability and Function:
A torn ACL can cause the knee to feel unstable or "give out" during movement. You may find it challenging to bear weight on the affected leg or experience difficulty walking or standing. This instability is often noticeable during activities that involve changing directions or pivoting.

4. Limited Range of Motion:
The injured knee may have a reduced range of motion due to pain, swelling, and instability. Attempting to fully straighten or bend the knee may be uncomfortable or even impossible.

5. Difficulty Continuing Physical Activities:
If you experience a torn ACL, you may find it difficult to continue the activity that caused the injury. Engaging in activities like running, jumping, or twisting may become painful or impractical.

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of a torn ACL is crucial for prompt diagnosis and appropriate treatment. If you suspect a torn ACL based on the presence of a "pop" sound, pain, swelling, instability, and limited range of motion, it's important to consult a healthcare professional for a thorough evaluation.

Dr. Weber and his team treat over 200 Los Angeles athletes and weekend warriors with ACL tears each year. We provide personalized treatment for all knee injuries from professional athletes to high school recreational players to weekend skiers. If you are a patient with a knee injury in Los Angeles, please reach out. We can see you within 24 hours.