I’ve done both. I’ve torn both ACLs and finally blew out on completely. I’ve also given birth to twins au naturel. The ACL tears are sudden, intense, sharp. piercing, holy shit!!! kind of pain. Blinding, rolling around on the floor, clutching you knee, surely a nuclear explosion happened inside there. This pain lasts for 10, maybe 15 minutes. It then settles down to a more manageable I’ll-probably-never-walk-again throbbing.
Finally rupturing the one happened while I was sitting down in a bar at a table at a Dopefest, I was working on my third pitcher of mini-Coronas? (don’t remember which beer they sold in buckets at this particular bar) when I planted my heel into the ground and turned my upper body to talk to the person next to me. RRIIIIIIIIPPPPPPP!!! “I’ve done something horrible to my knee” is what I ended up telling the person instead of what drunken drivel I was about to say. Since I was drunk and not standing on it and putting weight on it, I didn’t fall down immediately and roll around clutching at it. Instead I finished my bucket of beer, ordered more, got up and hop-danced a bit. Hopped all around talking to everybody and finally told my husband we were going to have to call a taxi because there was no fucking way on earth I was going to be able to handle the subway ride home.
There was a point during childbirth between contractions (which are probably a step below the ACL tearing) and actually pushing out the babies (painful? I don’t remember. There were babies coming out of me!) called 'transition" that was, without a doubt, the most painful endurance tests ever. It’s like a contraction but it doesn’t stop. It just keeps getting worse and worse and worse and worse and HOLY CHRIST IT SURE CAN’T GET WORSE and yet it does. It does get worse. And it gets worse some more after that. At one point I got out of my hospital bed and told everyone I was done. I didn’t want to have these damned kids. Fuck this shit, I’m going home.
At the end of the worse ACL pain I ended up with two bum knees that will give out for no damned reason and will suddenlyl hurt for no damned reason. At the end of childbirth I ended up with two wonderful, smart, beautiful children: a policewoman and EMT fireman. So in the end, the ACL was orders of magnitude worse.