What Does it Feel Like to Tear Your ACL?

February 12, 2021 | By: Raleigh Orthopaedic Team

What is an ACL Tear?

The ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament, is the ligament that connects your femur to your tibia and is responsible for stabilizing rotational movements of the knee. Due to its importance in pivoting and stabilization torn ACL’s are one of the most common sports injuries. The most common causes of injury are changing direction quickly, stopping abruptly, and landing awkwardly from a jump.

Symptoms of an ACL injury often include:

  • A popping sound
  • Severe pain
  • Rapid swelling
  • Loss of range of motion
  • Inability to put weight on the leg and remain stable


What does the ACL do?

The ACL is one the four major ligaments in the knee including the PCL, MCL, and LCL. The ACL serves to control rotation of the knee as well as aid in creating forward momentum for activities such as running or walking. It connects the femur to the tibia and is the most commonly injured ligament in the body. This is because of its use in sports and physical activity, often causing strain and overuse leading to injury. To prevent injury focus on leg strength training as well as stretching to progressively introduce the ACL to strenuous activities.


What to do if you Tear your ACL

ACL injuries come in all forms, ranging from minor trauma to severe tears. If you believe you have experienced an ACL injury, no matter how minor, you should keep weight off your leg, ice to reduce swelling, and seek medical attention immediately. Raleigh Orthopaedic offers multiple urgent care locations throughout central North Carolina, so you can get the care you need quickly without the hustle and bustle of the emergency room.

Urgent Care Locations:


*Note: Depending on your injury you may be directed to an emergency room for better pain management or more intense care.


Recovering from an ACL Injury

Recovering from ACL injury changes drastically based on the severity of the injury from rest and relaxation to post surgical rehabilitation. If you have recently experienced ACL reconstruction expect 2-4 weeks before you can put weight on your leg and then 2-9 months with a physical therapist building back strength and range of motion. If you or a loved one needs physical therapy services Raleigh Orthopaedic offers 6 conveniently located physical therapy centers fully staffed and ready to help you get back to feeling your best.

Physical Therapy Locations:


Your Next Steps

Your well-being is important to us. Raleigh Orthopaedic is Wake County’s oldest and most experienced orthopedic practice, serving the Triangle and surrounding regions of central North Carolina since 1919. Raleigh Orthopaedic offers online scheduling so click the button below or call us at (919) 781-5600 to schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists. If your injury or condition is recent, you can walk right into one of our Raleigh Orthopaedic Urgent Care locations for immediate care. For rehabilitation and physical therapy, no referral is needed to see one of our physical therapists.