What Are ACL Injuries?

Physiotherapy - acl injury

If you’ve been keeping up with this year’s Women’s World Cup, then you’re sure to have seen that the tournament has been somewhat plagued by injury, most specifically anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears.

Whether you play football yourself or are active in other ways, one of the best ways to go about preventing such sports injuries is to familiarise yourself with how they take place and what you can do to best prevent them from happening.

The majority of ACL injuries take place during sports like football, netball and skiing, all of which often involve quick changes of direction while moving at speed, or twisting of the knee when the foot is on the ground.

Your ACL is positioned in front of your posterior cruciate ligament, both of which form a cross inside your knee in different directions from your thigh to your shin bone. These ligaments work to keep your knee stable, while keeping your thigh and shin bones in place.

When the ligaments stretch but don’t tear, this is referred to as a sprain, but an ACL injury is either a partial or complete tear, involving stretched ligaments or even a complete detachment of it from the bone.

Symptoms of such injuries include pain in the knee and even a popping sound at the moment of injury. You may find that the knee feels unstable or like it will give way and you may not be able to put any weight on it at all. You should see swelling manifest within an hour or two of the injury.

It’s likely that you’ll need to go to hospital to have the injury assessed and it’s possible that you’ll be referred on to a specialist to help you with your recovery.

Physiotherapy is also an option, where your knee will be assessed and rehab exercises decided upon based on your specific requirements. 

The aim here will be to get you back to playing the sport you love as quickly as possible – so it’s essential that you do the exercises you’re given so as to ensure you’re able to enjoy full range of movement sooner rather than later.

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