So you’re wondering about ACL injury symptoms? Have you just hurt your knee playing sport?


Here’s some common ACL injury symptoms that you might experience, but first let’s understand what is an ACL injury?


What is an ACL rupture?



This means rupture of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL). This is where one of the main ligaments deep inside your knee is ruptured, or completely torn. This can leave your knee feeling unstable.







What are ACL injury symptoms?



Often an ACL rupture happens during a sudden change of direction when playing sport. It can also happen from a contact injury such as when you’re tackled from the side, with force pushing your knee inwards while your foot is fixed to the ground. This will often also cause damage to the meniscus. The meniscus is a structure that helps to absorb shock in the knee.


Initially an ACL injury will have symptoms of immediate pain and swelling. If the ACL injury is a partial rupture, you may notice a mild sense of instability in your knee, like you can’t ‘trust it’ as much. In the case of a full ACL tear, this instability can be a lot more significant, with the knee feeling like it might ‘give way’ when doing simple day to day things.


How can physio help an ACL reconstruction?

In the first few weeks after your injury, your physiotherapist will assist to reduce swelling, and keep your knee moving as much as possible. This includes addressing muscle guarding, and managing the inflammation associated with the rupture.

Your physiotherapist will provide treatment, advice and exercises over the following stages:




  • Early recovery: reducing swelling and inflammation, regaining full range of movement in your knee
  • Mid-stage recovery: focus on strength, balance and gradual return to function
  • Late-stage recovery: build up strength, agility and work on sports-specific skills including running, jumping and cutting activities.





Your physiotherapist will guide you through each stage of your recovery, and although exact timeframes differ from person to person, and knee to knee, the recovery timeframe from an ACL rupture where surgery is required is generally around 12 months or more.




Have you ruptured your ACL?




Are you worried ‘have I ruptured my ACL’? Or are you concerned you might have damaged it?



Our physiotherapists can check your knee stability, and if needed, send you for imaging.

Book Online to see a Glenelg sports physio now.