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About Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injuries

One of the most common knee injuries is often a sprain or tear to the anterior cruciate ligament, otherwise known as the ACL. When you injure your anterior cruciate ligament, you might hear a “popping” noise and you may feel your knee give out from under you. Other typical symptoms include:

  • Pain with swelling. Within 24 hours, your knee will swell. If ignored, the swelling and pain may resolve on its own. However, if you attempt to return to sports, your knee will probably be unstable and you risk causing further damage to the cushioning cartilage (meniscus) of your knee.
  • Loss of full range of motion
  • Tenderness along the joint line
  • Discomfort while walking

If you have injured your ACL, depending on the severity of your injury and your activity level, you may require surgery to regain full function of your knee. UT Health Austin Musculoskeletal Institute and Sports and Injury Clinic providers work with you on developing a specialized treatment plan with your goals in mind with a team dedicated to helping you every step of the way.

Upon evaluation of your knee, including potential imaging, your medical provider will discuss whether surgical or nonsurgical treatment is the best route depending on your goals and activity level. Surgical treatment involves rebuilding the ligament to restore knee stability, range of motion and function. Your care team will walk you through the risks and benefits as well as what to expect for the procedure and recovery process. Surgery is conducted arthroscopically using minimally invasive incisions. Post-surgery most patients experience a reduction in pain and improvement in function with rehabilitation.

The UT Health Austin Musculoskeletal Institute Sports and Injury Clinic includes experts in hip and knee orthopedic surgeons, sports medicine specialists, physiatrists, physical therapists, chiropractors, nurse practitioners, dietitians, and social workers. This team enables us to provide the right care for the right patient at the right time. For some patients, nonsurgical interventions such as lifestyle modifications, physical therapy, medication and injections can help improve pain and function, while surgery may be the best course of action for others. Whatever your needs, our team is here to listen and work with you to develop a treatment plan that is right for you.