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The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of four knee ligaments that connect the upper leg bone with the lower leg bones. The ACL keeps your knee stable when your leg moves forward and backward. It also keeps the knee from bending sideways. A torn ACL often occurs during sports that require stop-and-go or twisting motions, such as soccer, football, basketball, and snow skiing.
Treatment depends on how badly the ACL is torn. Not all injuries need surgery. Your doctor also will base your treatment on how unstable the knee is, whether other parts of your knee are injured, and how active you are. You may be able to wait for a while before deciding whether to have surgery.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: June 26, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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