Diagnosis

If you suspect that you have a torn ACL, first consult your primary care physician, who will perform the initial treatment measures that do not require an orthopaedic specialist. Before referring you to us, your doctor may order preliminary imaging studies (MRI scans). An orthopaedic specialist will first ask you to describe the exact mechanism of the injury and will then perform a thorough examination of the knee. The diagnosis is established based on clinical suspicion of ACL injury in combination with radiographic evidence of damage to the anterior cruciate ligament as seen on a plain radiograph (X-ray) of the knee.
If magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has not been performed already, this should be done at that point for a more detailed assessment of the knee. MRI allows the specialist to determine whether other structures are damaged.