ACL Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury

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The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the main intra-articular ligaments within the knee joint that provides stability and support to the knee. It is attached to the base of the femoral bone and to the top of the tibial bone. Most ACL injuries are associated with sudden twisting movements or direct blows to the knee itself and can therefore be debilitating.

Causes: The most common injuries to the ACL involve either a partial or complete rupture (sprain or tear). The mechanism of the injury normally involves a forceful twisting action on the weight bearing knee. The ACL may then tear once the knee is twisted abnormally or if the leg receives a direct blow (normally to the shin bone; tibia) when the foot is firmly placed on the ground. ACL injuries are therefore common in sports and other leisure activities that involve forceful jumping and twisting actions. Examples of an ACL trauma injury include a rugby collision, a football tackle, a fall during skiing, a fall down a set of steps and an awkward landing after jumping over an obstacle.

Symptoms & Diagnosis: Following acute trauma, pain and swelling around the knee joint are the most common symptoms that follow an ACL tear. An audible ‘pop’ may be heard and the knee may give way and ‘buckle’ at the time of the injury. Depending on the severity of the injury, weight-bearing on the affected knee may be difficult and the knee may feel unstable. An MRI scan may be indicated to confirm the extent of any such tear.

Management: A skilled physiotherapist will identify whether an ACL injury exists and will provide physiotherapy to reduce the pain and inflammation. When indicated, rehabilitation will take place to help restore full strength, proprioception and stability. Onward referral to a specialist may be required if surgical intervention is deemed necessary. Such surgery may involve an ACL reconstruction.

Please feel free to contact the G4 Clinic to speak to a member of the team for any questions that you may have.

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