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If you tear your ACL, it will probably be painful, and you may not be able to bear weight on your knee. Your knee may feel unstable and give way (or feel like it will).
Your treatment plan depends on how severe your ACL tear or sprain is. Minor tears or sprains may heal with non-surgical treatment such as physiotherapy. More severe or complete tears will most likely need surgery to repair. Your doctor or orthopaedic surgeon will be able to advise the best treatment for you.
After an injury, a doctor will examine your knee. They will ask if you heard or felt a pop when twisting the knee, and if your knee swelled immediately afterwards. There are some movement tests they can do to see which part of your knee is injured. Your doctor may perform a test called the Lachman's test to see if your ACL is intact.
You may also have an MRI scan.
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This information was published by Bupa's Health Content Team and is based on reputable sources of medical evidence. It has been reviewed by appropriate medical or clinical professionals and deemed accurate on the date of review. Photos are only for illustrative purposes and do not reflect every presentation of a condition.
Any information about a treatment or procedure is generic, and does not necessarily describe that treatment or procedure as delivered by Bupa or its associated providers.
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- Acute knee injuries. Brukner & Khan’s Clinical Sports Medicine: Injuries, Volume 1, 5th ed. (online). McGraw-Hill Medical. csm.mhmedical.com, accessed 7 March 2023
- Knee ligament injuries. PatientPro. patient.info/doctor, last edited 16 August 2022
- Anterior cruciate ligament injury. BMJ Best Practice. bestpractice.bmj.com, last reviewed 1 March 2023
- Anterior cruciate ligament injury. Medscape. emedicine.medscape.com, updated 26 February 2021
- Knee assessment. PatientPro. patient.info/doctor, last edited 16 February 2022
- Meniscus tears. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. orthoinfo.aaos.org, last reviewed March 2021
- Sprains and strains. NICE Clinical Knowledge Summaries. cks.nice.org.uk, last revised September 2020
- Knee pain. NICE Clinical Knowledge Summaries. cks.nice.org.uk, last revised August 2022Treatment of sports injuries. Brukner & Khan’s Clinical Sports Medicine: Injuries, Volume 1, 5th ed. (online). McGraw-Hill Medical. csm.mhmedical.com, accessed 7 March 2023Treatment for knee pain. Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. www.csp.org.uk, last reviewed 26 March 2020