Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries and tears often happen in high-risk sports such as soccer, basketball, football, and skiing. This type of knee injury is painful and often requires surgery to repair the damage to the ACL. If you injure your ACL, you’ll know it.\nACL Tear or Injury Symptoms\nIf you tear or damage your ACL, you may experience:\n\nA popping sound\nYour knee giving out from under you\nPain and swelling\nReduced range of motion in the knee\nPain or discomfort when walking\n\nIt’s best to seek treatment for an ACL injury within an hour to have the best chance of reducing further damage to your knee. With any knee injury, you need to rest until fully healed.\nACL Injury Treatment Options\nTreatment for ACL injuries range from nonsurgical interventions, such as braces, to ACL reconstruction surgery. Treatment plans depend on the patient’s:\n\nAge\nActivity level\nDegree of injury\n\nFor minor injuries, protective braces and physical therapy to strengthen the muscles around the knee may be enough. You will need to:\n\nApply ice to the knee several times a day\nKeep the knee elevated\nReduce activity for a few weeks at least\n\nA full ACL tear will not heal on its own. If you want to continue in high-risk sports or an active lifestyle, surgical repair is the best option. In ACL reconstruction surgery, the ligament is rebuilt using tissue from your own body or from a donor.\nWithout surgery, your knee may be unstable and increase your risk for future injuries.\nACL Rehabilitation and Recovery\nPhysical therapy is an important part of recovering from an ACL tear or injury. You can perform ACL injury exercises on your own at a gym, or you may want to enroll in a sports medicine program designed for ACL injuries. This is a vital step to getting you back on the field.\nDo you have questions about sports-related injuries? Schedule an appointment to speak with an experts at the UPMC Sports Medicine online or call 1-855-93-SPORT (77678).