Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries
Article discussing Anterior Cruciate Ligament injuries looking at the anatomy, causes and treatment.
Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury, Anterior Cruciate Ligament tears, Anterior Cruciate Ligament sprains, ACL rupture, ACL Injuries, ACL tears, ACL sprain
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Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries

Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries

The injury most Sportspeople Dread

Scenario 1: You are running and go to change direction you hear and feel a  ‘pop’ in your knee, pain and swelling follows. Scenario 2: you are running and go to stop you hear and feel a  ‘pop’ in your knee, pain and swelling follows. Scenario 3: your knee receives a direct blow and hear and feel a  ‘pop’ in your knee, pain and swelling follows. That sound and the potential injury it could indicate, is one of the most feared injuries in the world of sport and athletics; Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) damage. This injury has the potential to alter the entire trajectory of of sportsperson’s career be that a seasoned professional to a budding amateur but it is not just limited to the world of sports and athletics. With that in mind, let us now take a further look at Anterior Cruciate Ligament injuries:

The Anatomy:

Ligaments are made up of arranged collagen fibres. The Anterior cruciate ligaments connect the Femur (thigh bone) and the Tibia (shin bone).

They prevent the tibias from sliding out in front of the femurs and provide rotational stability to the knees. They also act as sensors for the brain to let you know the position the knee joints are in, without having to look.

It is one of the four main stabilisers of the knee joint along with the Posterior Cruciate ligament, Medial Collateral ligament and Lateral Collateral ligament.

What happens to the ligament:

ACL injuries occur when the ligament that connects the thigh bone to the shin bone is damaged or torn. There are 3 grades of ligament injury:

  • Grade 1 is a stretch of the ligament without tearing it (a sprain)
  • Grade 2 is a partial tear of the ligament.
  • Grade 3 is a complete tear through the ligament.

These type of damages alter the arrangement of the collagen fibres, this in turn weakens the ligament leading to loss of knee stability when moving.

Why is it so feared:

The Road to recovery from an ACL injury is a long one! If you are sportsperson or athlete this can normally mean missing the whole competitive season. If not properly rehabbed there is risk of reinjury which can subsequently be career ending.​ ACL injuries also increase the risk of getting knee osteoarthritis

The Treatment:

For professional sportspeople and athletes if the ACL has been completely torn then surgery may advised in order to repair the ligament. After recovery from surgery a rehabilitation program can start.

The objectives of management are to restore knee function, address psychological barriers, prevent further injury and osteoarthritis and optimise long-term quality of life.

Manual therapist such as Osteopaths would focus on: improving the range motion in the knee, managing the swelling and considering appropriate exercises to strengthen the ligament and stabilise the knee. The exercises and strengthening should help the collagen fibres align lengthways thus restoring the function of the ACL.

The take home message:

Anterior cruciate ligament injuries can be devastating, but they are also preventable. Taking proper precautions and seeking medical care if an injury does occur can help prevent long-term damage and ensure a successful recovery. If you think you might have injured your Anterior Cruciate Ligament come and see us and we help.

TheOsteo Clinic
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