The ACL attaches to the knee end of the Femur (thigh bone), at the back
of the joint and passes down through the knee joint to the front of the
flat upper surface of the Tibia (shin bone). It passes across the knee
joint in a diagonal direction and with the PCL passing in the opposite
direction, forms a cross shape, hence the name cruciate ligaments.
This ligament is vitally important to the stability of the knee joint
as it prevents forward movement of the Tibia from underneath the femur ,
especially in contact sports and those that involve fast changes in
direction and twisting and pivoting movements.
What causes an ACL tear?
When a twisting force is being applied to the knee whilst the foot is
firmly planted on the ground or upon landing, an injury can occurs. An
injury can also be formed as a result of a direct blow to the knee,
usually the outside, as may occur during a football tackle.
Anterior cruciate ligament injuries are more common in females with
between 2 and 8 times more females suffering a rupture than males.
What are the symptoms?
You may hear an audible pop or crack at the time of injury.
You will feel extreme pain and is marked with extensive swelling.
You will experience restricted movement, especially an inability to fully straighten the leg.
What can you do?
Stop the activity or competition immediately.
Apply RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) to the knee and seek medical attention immediately.
How is ACL tear treated?
An assessment from the doctor can determine if you are suffering froma
torn ACL and other additional injuries. Medical imaging such as an MRI
scan or X-ray may be necessary.
If required, the doctor may
refer for ACL Surgery. which involves either repairing or reconstructing
the anterior cruciate ligament.
Physiotherapy may be
recommended to help you prepare for surgery and produce the best results
following surgery . Pre-surgery rehabilitation will help to strengthen
the knee and reduce the swelling.