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  • ACL Injuries: How They Happen

  • By Paul Fadale, MD, Rhode Island Hospital orthopedic surgeon and sports injury specialist

    Typically, and ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injury occurs when an athlete performs a twisting or cutting movement, or less commonly with direct contact. 

    The knee "gives way" and an audible pop or snap may be heard. This injury may be quite painful, but not necessarily so. Swelling follows soon thereafter. 

    If you suffer a knee injury, you should apply ice (20 minutes on, 20 minutes off) and elevate the leg in order to reduce swelling. Crutches are beneficial. Early and full range of knee motion is essential. Although there is often some improvement early on, returning to sports brings out the feeling of instability again. Further injury to the knee may result.