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  • Writer's pictureJay Kasthuriarachchi

Signs and Symptoms of an ACL Rupture

Updated: Oct 16, 2023

An ACL rupture can sometimes be obvious. But sometimes it can be a bit more subtle.


Here are a few signs and symptoms of an ACL rupture


Symptoms


Firstly, ACL injuries are acute, traumatic injuries. That means, that they normally occur from one specific incident, as opposed to an 'overuse injury' which occurs over a long periof of time.



The mechanism of injury is normally changing direction at high speed, with a feeling of the knee 'collapsing'. Sometimes it can occur with deceleration.


At the point of the ACL rupture, there player may complain of a 'pop' sound, accompanied by agonizing pain. Suprisingly, this pain may settle down within a few minutes, and the player may attempt to go back to the field.


Within a few hours, swelling and stiffness may set it. The player may also feel that the knee is 'unstable', and may struggle to weightbear.


Signs


Signs refer to what another physiotherapist or doctor may find when they examine your knee.


The first test will be simply looking at the knee. Is it puffy? Does the swelling sit around the knee joint or does it move around the top of knee?

The go to test for an ACL injury, is a test called a Lachmann's. You can view the test of Jay doing it on the left here. It involves pulling the shin bone forward, and feeling for the ACL to resist it. If there is no ACL (such as in the video), there won't be that resistance.


There are other tests that may be done, such as the anterior draw, which is similar to the test above. More often than not to confirm the ACL, you will be sent for a scan.


Honestly, the symptoms that you report will often be enough to determine if you need a scan or not.


If you are concerned that you may have done your ACL, book in with your physiotherapist to get checked as soon as you.


You can book in with us at SportsFit by clicking the link here


Want to learn more about ACL injuries? Check out our new ACL specific website here


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