The Joint Clinic

ACL Injuries Causes and symptoms


ACL Injuries – Causes and symptoms


ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) injuries are quite common among people who participate in fitness activities and high impact sports such as Football, Hockey, Soccer, Basketball etc and most of the times these injuries are self-inflicted by athletes when they twist or pivot while playing.Also other reasons that might cause an ACL injury include

  • Rapid direction change while walking, running, playing
  • Stopping suddenly
  • Incorrect landing while jumping
  • Direct contact or collision to the Knee

What happens when an ACL injury occurs?


There are three bones that meet to form the Knee Joint. They are the thighbone (also known as femur), shinbone (also known as tibia) and kneecap (also known as patella). We are mainly protected due to the kneecap that sits right in front of the joint. These three bones are connected to other bones by way of ligaments. Our knee has four main ligaments (collateral and cruciate ligaments) acting like strong ropes to hold the bones together.


When the Anterior Cruciate Ligament gets injured it also causes damages to other parts of the knee like articular cartilage, meniscus or other ligaments and damages are graded based on severity. Based on severity the damage could be a slight stretch of the ligament or a partial tear or a complete tear. In most cases it is either a slight stretch or a complete tear that normally occurs and partial tears are very uncommon.



How to know that you have an ACL Injury or damage?


Normally when you injure your ACL you might hear a popping noise and you may feel that your knee is giving out from under you. Other possible symptoms would be

  • Discomfort while walking
  • Tenderness along the joint line
  • Loss of motion of the knee
  • Pain with swelling

Especially when you experience a pain there can be swelling within 24 hours and in such conditions,  it is advised that you do not attempt to go for your sports or running etc as it might take a while for pain and swelling to resolve on its own. So if you try to resume sports it might cause further damage to the cushioning cartilage (meniscus) of your knee


Worldwide more than 400,000 ACL injuries occur and almost 50% of these undergo ACL reconstructive surgery to resolve the issue.