ACL Anterior Cruciate Ligament

ACL Anterior Cruciate Ligament

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ACL Anterior Cruciate Ligament

Knee

What is ACL?

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of four major ligaments that help stabilize the knee joint. The ACL attaches to the femur (thigh bone) and tibia (shin bone) on the outside of the knee, while the posterior cruciate ligament attaches to these bones on the inside.

This ligament is responsible for keeping the shin bone from sliding forward under the thigh bone. If this happens, it can lead to pain and injury in your knee joint.

What’s the purpose of ACL?

The ACL prevents hyperextension of the knee, which can cause damage to other areas of your body such as cartilage or meniscus tissue surrounding bones in your legs (or both). If you tear an ACL, you may notice pain behind or around your knee when using it. Your doctor will be able to diagnose whether or not you have torn your ACL by performing physical examinations as well as diagnostic tests such as MRI scans or X-rays (which are used to view bones).

What is an ACL injury?

The ACL can be injured during sports and other activities in which you twist or pivot on your knee. It can also be damaged as a result of certain medical conditions, such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

The ACL can be injured when you place too much stress on it. This typically happens during sports or other physical activities. Some examples include:

  • Football
  • Soccer
  • Basketball
  • Hockey

An ACL injury usually causes immediate pain and swelling in the knee joint. You may feel like something has “gouged” your knee or that it’s unstable when you stand up from sitting or bend forward from a standing position.

What are the Types of ACL injuries?

There are four types of anterior cruciate ligament injuries:

  • Partial Tear
  • Complete Tear
  • Non-contact Injuries
  • Contact Injuries

Contact ACL injuries:

Contact ACL injuries happen when another player hits or falls on your leg while playing a sport or during another activity like skiing or skateboarding.

A partial tear:

A partial tear usually happens when the knee twists too far or a lot too quickly, like if you were trying to jump over something and landed wrong.

A complete tear:

A complete tear means that the ligament is completely torn apart.

Non-contact injuries:

A non-contact injury means that there was no direct impact on your knee—you just heard a pop or felt some pain afterward.

What are the causes of ACL injuries?

There are many causes of ACL injuries, including:

Age-related changes: As people age, they become more likely to experience ACL injuries. This is because as you get older, your bones become less dense, which makes them more prone to breaking or fracturing. Older people who participate in sports activities may be at a higher risk for ACL injuries due to the increased impact on their knees.

Anatomical factors: Some people may have anatomical variations that make them more susceptible to ACL injuries, such as having wider hips or being bow legged or knock-kneed. These anatomical differences can lead to misalignment in the knee joint and improper alignment of the lower leg bones which increases stress on the ligament during activity or exercise sessions. This can result in tearing or rupturing over time if not addressed properly before starting new workouts/activities that place stress on these areas (like running).

Some common causes of ACL injuries include:

  • Bending your knee too far
  • Changing direction quickly while running or jumping
  • Landing on an uneven surface such as sand or snow

What are the symptoms of ACL injuries?

The symptoms of an ACL injury can vary from person to person, depending on how severe the injury is and where it occurred in the ligament.

Symptoms of ACL injuries include:

  • Pain and swelling around your knee joint
  • Difficulty walking or moving your knee
  • Inability to squat down without pain
  • A feeling that the knee is “giving way”
  • Sudden, sharp pain in the knee when you try to run or jump (or even when you walk up stairs)

How to Prevent ACL injuries?

Here’s what we recommend:

  1. Warm up before activity by walking around for 5 minutes, then doing some stretches for your hips, back, and legs.
  2. Use proper form when playing sports or exercising—for example, don’t let your knees cave inwards when running or jumping.
  3. Strengthen your quads and glutes with exercises like squats and lunges; these muscles help keep your knees stable during activity and make it less likely that they’ll buckle inward during movement (which is what causes an ACL injury).
  4. Don’t play sports where you could fall on your knees. This includes football, soccer, basketball, hockey, skiing and other activities where you could fall on your knees such as skateboarding or inline skating.
  5. Wear proper safety gear like kneepads when playing sports where you could fall on your knees or slide into something hard like a wall or door frame.

Recommended Exercise

Knee

What are the treatments for ACL injuries?

If you’re suffering from an injury to your ACL, there are several options for treatment. These include:

Surgical repair

This usually involves repairing or grafting your torn ACL with a piece of tissue from a cadaver or synthetic material such as PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene).

Non-surgical treatment

Non-surgical treatments may include physical therapy and medication to relieve pain, swelling, and inflammation while allowing your body to naturally heal itself over time.

Explanation of Recommended Orthotic Device

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