ACL TEAR: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Prevention


Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) Tear is a medical condition where the anterior cruciate ligament is injured or partially or completely torn. The most common injury is a complete tear. In more than 50% of incidences of ACL Tears, other structures of the knee such as the ligaments or cartilage are damaged. 

The structure of the knee joint consists of the tibia, the patella, and the femur. The ACL is one of the major ligaments within the knee that connects the tibia and the femur. The ACL runs diagonally in the middle of the knee. It prevents the tibia from sliding out in front of the femur, thus providing stability to the knee. 

The ACL Tear is one of the most common injuries of the knee. The chances of ACL Tear is witnessed mostly in people who take part in high risk sports, such as cricket, soccer, basketball etc, which demands sudden strong landing of the body and body movements. In more than half of ACL Tear injuries, there is a damage of the articular cartilage, the meniscus or other ligaments of the knee.

Facts on ACL Tear:

  • The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is the most commonly injured knee ligament.

  • Incidences of ACL Tears are estimated to be between 150,000 and 200,000 in the United STates every year.

  • More than 100,000 surgeries to reconstruct the ACL are performed every year in the United States.

  • An ACL Tear often occurs with sportspersons and women who wear high heels for long hours.

Signs and symptoms of ACL Tear:

When the ACL is injured or torn, you might hear a ‘popping’ sound and might feel like your knee has torn apart.

Other symptoms include:

  • Swelling with pain – If your ACL is injured or torn, your knee will swell and you will face excruciating pain. In many cases, the swelling and the pain may subside on its own. But for people who plan to return to sports, it will be difficult for them to run or jump as the knee would be unstable. In that situation, the injury might worsen causing further damage.

  • Loss of range of motion

  • Discomfort while walking or moving

  • Tenderness along the joint line

Causes of ACL Tear:

One of the major causes of an ACL Tear is stress on the knee. Other causes include:

  • Awkward landing from a jump

  • Sudden change in the direction of the body

  • Pivoting with your foot firmly planted

  • Suddenly stopping from a run

  • Receiving a direct blow to the knee or collision

Types of ACL Injury or Tear:

There are varying levels of ACL injury. These include sprains, avulsion fractures, ACL deficiencies, and complex ligament injuries.
  • ACL Sprain Grade I – This is considered to be the most mild condition among all the types of ACL injuries. Patients suffering from this grade of injury can be treated without a surgery. This grade of injury occurs due to stretch of the ligament. Tears do not occur in this case.

  • ACL Sprain Grade II – Grade II injury occurs when the fibers of the ligaments are partially torn. The symptoms include knee pain, swelling and tenderness. Treatment of the ACL in this grade depends on the age of the patient and degree of the damage.

  • ACL Sprain Grade III – This grade of sprain mostly occurs among the athletes. The fibers of the ligaments are completely torn in this case. Symptoms of a Grade III sprain are frequently more severe. The tear in this grade of sprain can be treated only with reconstructive surgery.

  • ACL Deficient Knee – The most prominent symptoms in this case is knee buckling, which can be felt while walking or running. In many cases, patients can live with ACL deficiency; the only thing that they need to do is reduce their physical activities.


During the physical examination, the doctor will check the swelling in the knee. The doctor may also ask you to change positions of the knee to check if the knee is functioning properly. The diagnosis, in most cases, can be done on the basis of the physical test alone, but if the injury looks severe, the doctor may ask you to take a few more tests such as – X-rays, MRI, and ultrasound.


Ayurveda Treatment for ACL Tear:

According to Ayurveda, inflammation and immobility are the response of the human body to certain injuries. Ayurveda believes that herbal formulation and natural herbs are quite effective in treating joint related injuries. Herba can give faster results without causing any side effects to the body. There are several herbal supplements which can provide relief to joint injuries.

  • BOSWELLIA CURCUMIN CAPSULES – Boswellic acid present in shallaki is considered quite effective anti-inflammatory that helps to reduce stiffness and inflammation of joints or injuries in the joints.

  • ASHWAGANDHA CAPSULES – Ashwagandha is considered to be a rich source of restoring properties which can boost the immunity. Ashwagandha can reduce excessive pain and inflammation of the knee joints with its anti-inflammatory properties.

  • AAMVATANTAK CHURNA – Aamvatantak churna is a fine blend of ashwagandha, suranjaan, meth, gorkhmundi, haridra and sonth. These herbal products are known to strengthen bones and joints.

  • JOINT AID PLUS – Joint aid plus is a combination of guggul, nirgundi, shallaki, ashwagandha and sonth. All these herbs are known for their anti-arthritic properties.


The surgery to repair a torn ACL is known as ACL Reconstruction. During the process, the surgeon operates and removes the injured ligament and replaces it with a segment of tendon tissue. The tendon tissue works similar to that of a ligament which connects the muscle to bone. The surgeon will use a piece of tendon from another part of the knee or a tendon from a deceased donor. After the surgery, the patient can resume a rehabilitative therapy course for recovery. For recovery, you can do the following self care at home:

  • Icing

  • Proper rest

  • Use compression

  • Keep your knee in elevated position

Home remedies for ACL Tear:

  • Ice pack

  • Epsom salt bath

  • Castor oil massage

  • Leg strengthening exercises

  • Wearing a knee brace

  • Balanced diet

  • Omega-3 supplements

  • OTC medications

Complications of ACL Tear:

Some complications it may cause include:

  • Limping

  • Risk of developing knee osteoarthritis

  • Deterioration of joint cartilage

  • Less range of motion

Prevention of ACL Tear:

  • Practice good technique – Proper technique of body movement can help ward off any injuries related to sports.

  • Do not work while your body is fatigued – If your body is tired, get some rest. Do not exert yourself into workout if you are suffering from fatigue.

  • Workout to develop muscles evenly – Core strength is extremely important. WOrkout to build muscles that can prevent your body from any injury.

  • Create balance between flexibility and strength – Stiff muscles are prone to injury. Workout to build strength and flexibility in moderate amounts.

  • Balanced diet – Make sure you eat a balanced diet. It will help you increase strength, attention and endurance.

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