ACL Sprain/Tear :: Nationwide Children's Hospital

ACL Sprain/Tear

What is the ACL?

  • The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is a major ligament located inside the knee.
  • It provides a large amount of stability to the knee joint.

What causes ACL Injuries?

  • A sprain of the ACL can be caused by the following:
  • Hyperextending the knee
  • Twisting the knee
  • Landing awkwardly from a jump
  • A direct blow to the knee

What are the symptoms?

  • Many patients report hearing a “pop” in the knee at the time of injury.
  • The knee may buckle, or give way when walking.
  • Rapid knee swelling 12-24 hours after injury.

What can I do to feel better?

  • Rest.  Do not do any activities that cause pain.
  • Ice for 15-20 minutes at a time will help decrease swelling and pain.
  • Compression can be helpful to decrease swelling and pain.
  • Elevate the affected leg above the heart.

When should I see a medical professional?

  • ACL injuries can be significant, and need to be evaluated by your primary care provider or sports medicine specialist before returning to activity.
  • ACL injuries usually require surgery and extensive rehabilitation to ensure a safe return to sport. 

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Free Parent's Guide to Knee Injuries

Nationwide Children's Hospital
700 Children's Drive Columbus, Ohio 43205 614.722.2000