ACL Injury Overview

An anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury is a tear or sprain of the ACL, which is one of the strong bands of tissue that connects your thigh bone (femur) to your shinbone (tibia). ACL injuries are most common in activities involving quick pauses or changes in direction, jumping, and landings, such as soccer, basketball, football, and downhill skiing.

When an ACL is torn, many people hear a pop or feel a “popping” feeling in their knees. Your knee may expand, become unstable, and be unpleasant to bear weight on.

ACL tears caused by sports

An ACL tear or sprain is common in sports when you: –

  • Plant your foot firmly on the ground, and a strong force strikes your knee while your leg is straight or slightly bent.
  • Change your direction quickly while running.
  • Land in an awkward position after a jump.

This sort of injury is common in sports that include a lot of stop-and-go action, jumping, or weaving, such as,

Soccer, Skiing, Football, Basketball, etc.

Other causes of ACL tears

ACL sprains and tears can also be caused by falling off a ladder or missing a step on a stairway.

The ACL, like any other body part, deteriorates with age. Tears are more common in adults over the age of 40.

Common Symptoms OF ACL Injury –

The following are common symptoms of an ACL tear –

  • A loud “popping” sensation in the knee
  • Severe discomfort and incapacity to engage in physical activity
  • Excessive & Rapid Swelling
  • Losing or decreased range of motion in your knee joint.
  • A sensation of instability or “giving way” when you are bearing weight.

Treatments for ACL Injuries 

Immediate first-aid treatment helps minimize discomfort and swelling after a knee injury.

  • Rest – Rest is essential for healing and restricts weight bearing on your knee.
  • Elevation – Lie down on your back with your knee raised on pillows.
  • Compression – Wrap your knee with an elastic bandage or compression wrap.
  • Ice Pack – When you’re awake, attempt to ice your knee for at least 20 minutes every two hours.
  • Compression – Wrap your knee with an elastic bandage or compression wrap.
  • Elevation – Lie down on your back with your knee raised up on pillows.
  • Rehabilitation – The aim of therapy is to lessen pain and swelling, regain complete range of motion in your knee, and strengthen muscles. Individuals who are generally inactive, engage in modest exercise and recreational activities or play sports that put less strain on the knees may benefit from this course of physical therapy.
  • Surgery – Your doctor may advise you to get surgery if:
  • You’re an athlete who wants to keep playing your sport, especially if it requires jumping, cutting, or rotating.
  • More than one ligament or fibrous cartilage in your knee is also damaged.
  • Your knee is buckling as a result of the damage during everyday activities.

Prevention –

An ACL injury can be reduced with proper training and activity. A sports science physician, physiotherapist, athletic trainer, or other sports medicine professional can provide risk assessment training.

  • Exercises that strengthen the legs & particularly the hamstrings.
  • Practicing pivoting and cutting movements to enhance technique
  • Strengthening exercises for the core, comprising the hips, pelvis, and lower abdomen.
  • Training and exercise focusing on good jumping technique and knee position when landing from jumps

Takeaway –

The extent of your anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury and how it affects your quality of life will determine whether you need knee surgery.

You may choose not to have ACL surgery if your knee does not feel unstable and you do not lead an active lifestyle but should do one other physiotherapy exercise.

However, you should be aware that postponing surgery may result in more knee injuries.

Note -One study of persons with ACL tears discovered that the chance of injuring the damaged knee increased by 1% every month between the injury and surgery.


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