Sports Medicine

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injury

Our Pediatric Sports Medicine team put together these videos to provide information for you.

Drew Warnick, MD

Hello my name is Doctor Drew Warnick, and I am the surgical director of AllSports Medicine at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital.  I am a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon with special training in pediatric and adolescent sports medicine.

In this video, we are going to discuss Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries.

What is the Anterior Cruciate Ligament or ACL?

The Anterior Cruciate Ligament or ACL is one of the four main ligaments of the knee that stabilize the knee joint. It functions to protect the tibia from sliding forward and rotating on the femur.

How is the ACL injured?

Direct contact injuries or sudden sharp changes in direction during sports such as football, soccer, and basketball can place a large amount of stress across the ACL causing it to tear.

What happens if ACL is torn?

When the ACL is torn, the knee is unstable and prone to injury.  If an athlete returns to sport without ACL reconstruction, the knee may "give out" and injure the bearing surface (Cartilage) or shock absorbers (Meniscus) inside the knee joint further damaging the knee.

How do I know if I have torn my ACL?

An athlete feels the sensation of a "pop" at the time of injury and will have immediate swelling and pain in the knee joint.

At AllSports Medicine, we will examine your knee with specific tests to help assess for an ACL tear. X-rays and MRI are used to confirm the diagnosis and are helpful for determining concurrent meniscal and cartilage injury.

What are my treatment options?

At Allsports Medicine, we will develop a treatment plan for your ACL injury.

The most appropriate treatment for a young athlete with an ACL tear depends on skeletal maturity, family and patient desires, level of competition, functional disability, and presence of other associated injuries.