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How is an anterior cruciate ligament injury diagnosed?

If you think you have an injured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), the first step is to have your knee examined by a doctor. Your doctor will usually be able to tell within minutes whether or not your ACL is torn. If your knee becomes sore and painful, so you can't tolerate a doctor wriggling it, then your doctor may ask you to wait a week or two for it to calm down.

If your knee hasn't cleared up by then (which happens in about 25 percent of cases or less), you'll likely need a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan to help diagnose the tear. Regardless of your age, a torn ACL is never going to heal on its own. So if you want to get back to an active lifestyle, the next step will likely be surgery to reconstruct your ACL.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.