What is an ACL injury?
The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is one of four ligaments that are responsible for providing stability at the knee joint. An injury to this ligament can vary from a small tear to a complete tear. It is a relative common injury in sports but can also occur in motor vehicle accidents, falls or work related injuries. Around 80% of ACL injuries occur in non contact situations, rather than coming into contact with another player it may occur, or in combination, from landing after a jump, pivoting, hyperextending the knee or suddenly stopping. It is common for the injury to be a result of performing an action repeatedly in an athlete’s career or from a simple manoeuvre.
An ACL injury may occur in isolation or in combination with other injuries particularly the other structures that are closely related to the ligament. Other structures that may be involved are meniscus, articular cartilage or the MCL (medial collateral ligament). Women are more likely to have an ACL injury than men, due to the differences in body shape (hip to leg angle).
Signs and Symptoms:
- Audible ‘pop’ or ‘crack’ or feeling ‘something going out and then going back’ during the accident.
- A feeling of instability.
- Lack of confidence in the knee.
- Pain – complete tears can be extremely painful.
- Swelling at the knee but in some cases can be delayed.
- Initially unable to continue to participate in the activity which can be due to pain or swelling.
Our expert team of Physiotherapists can help by assessing your injury to ensure an accurate diagnosis to determine the extent of your injury and the best treatment to suit your needs. Initially after the injury, physiotherapy helps to improve swelling range of movement, strength balance and to reduce pain. In more severe injuries, surgery will need to be considered. Physiotherapy plays are large role in rehabilitation after surgery to strengthen the knee to prevent future injuries and to help return to sports or any lifestyle goals of the individual. These techniques maybe include:
- Soft tissue massage.
- Joint mobilisaton.
- Oedema (swelling massage).
- Education and advice.
- Return to sport / work.
To make an appointment, please contact your nearest Integrated Health clinic.