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ACL Tear

Southwest Orthopedic Group, LLP

Orthopedic Surgery located in Houston, TX & The Greater Houston Area

Well over 100,000 ACL injuries occur every year in the United States. An ACL tear won’t heal on its own, which makes it essential to get medical care from the experts at Southwest Orthopedic Group, LLP. Their years of experience and customized treatment for ACL tears give you the best chance of full recovery and a return to an active lifestyle. If you have questions or need to schedule an appointment, call one of the SWOG offices in Houston, Texas, and the greater Houston area.

ACL Tear Q & A

What is the ACL?

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of four ligaments that stabilize your knee joint. Without it, knee joints tend to "give way" during cutting, pivoting, and jumping activities. Instability during such movements severely limits athletic performance.

What causes an ACL tear?

The ACL is usually injured when you make certain moves while engaging in activities. A small number of ACL tears are caused by direct contact with another person or object.

Movements that can lead to ACL tears include:

  • Landing from a jump incorrectly
  • Changing direction rapidly
  • Stopping suddenly
  • Pivoting and sidestepping


You have a higher risk of developing an ACL tear if you participate in high-demand sports such as football, basketball, skiing, and soccer.

What are the symptoms of an ACL tear?

You may hear a popping sound when the tear occurs, then you’ll typically develop symptoms such as:

  • Pain and swelling (develop within a few hours)
  • Loss of motion
  • Pain or tenderness over the joint
  • Discomfort when you walk


It’s estimated that half of all ACL injuries occur together with damage to other structures in your knee, including the meniscus and other ligaments.

How is an ACL tear diagnosed?

Like many other orthopedic conditions, ACL ruptures are diagnosed by history, physical examination, and appropriate diagnostic imaging such as X-ray and MRI. 


A complete ACL tear won’t heal on its own. In fact, the ligament won’t heal even if it’s sutured together. However, your doctor at Southwest Orthopedic Group, LLP can reconstruct your ACL with a tendon graft.

During ACL reconstruction, the injured ACL is removed and replaced with a piece of tendon taken from another area of the body, usually a hamstring or patellar tendon. However, depending upon the degree of joint laxity after an ACL injury and the type of physical activity one wants to pursue, some ACL injuries can be managed well without surgery.

When you need expert treatment for an ACL tear, call one of the several Southwest Orthopedic Group, LLP offices.