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ACL Tear

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The knee contains several ligaments that connect the bones together and give it movement. The cruciate ligaments refer to the ligaments located on the inside of the knee joint and provide the knee with front-and-back movement. Sprains or tears can happen in the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), located in the front of the knee, due to direct contact or changing direction quickly during sports or other physical activity.

Symptoms of an ACL tear include:

  • Inability to walk or stand
  • Loose feeling in the joint
  • Pain
  • Popping sound when the injury occurs
  • Swelling


Comprehensive exam
Your doctor will conduct a thorough exam and ask for your health history to diagnose this condition.

Imaging tests
Your doctor may order an imaging test such as an X-ray, computerized tomography (CT) scan, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to confirm a diagnosis.

In this test, your specialist inserts a long, thin instrument (arthroscope) into your knee joint to assess the cartilage injury.


RICE method
You should use the RICE method, which includes rest, ice, compression, and elevation, while you’re at home.

Anti-inflammatory medication
Your doctor may prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication – or recommend an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen – to help reduce swelling and pain.

Electrical stimulation
Your doctor may recommend you undergo electrical stimulation therapy to help get relief from your injury.

Physical therapy
You may need to work with a physical therapist to help regain strength and use following an injury.

If your knee condition has not been responsive to other treatments, you may need to undergo surgery, such as or knee replacement.

Why Choose the University of Miami Sports Medicine Institute?

World-Class Care in an Academic Health System. As a research and teaching institution, we treat children and adults with proven, leading-edge procedures based on clinical studies performed at the Miller School of Medicine. Our doctors, residents, nurses, and therapists work together to create healthy outcomes.

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