One of the most common sports related injuries is an ACL tear or rupture. This injury is seen often in football, basketball, soccer, and volleyball, as well as many other sports. The ACL is the anterior cruciate ligament, one of four major ligaments in the knee. Found deep within the middle of the joint between the femur and the tibia, it originates in the deep notch of the femur and inserts on the intercondyloid eminence of the tibia. The purpose of the ACL is to limit excessive forward motion of the tibia in relation to the femur as well as limit rotational movement of the knee joint itself.
ACL tears or ruptures most often occur with other injuries. Some of the common linked injuries are tearing of the MCL (medial collateral ligament) and meniscus. There are several ways ACL injuries can occur. Most often, they can occur when an athlete decelerates with a planted foot and turns their body in the direction of the planted foot. This motion forces the tibia into internal rotation which then tears the ACL. A tear can also occur if the knee is forced into hyperextension, at least ten degrees more so than normal. This motion slides the tibia forward and, if done with enough force, can cause a detachment or tear in the ACL. Finally, landing with the knee in a straightened position can lead to ACL injury. The athlete may hear a loud popping sound and the knee will immediately begin to swell. The athlete will feel instability in their knee, as if it will “give out”, and experience pain. To diagnose an ACL injury, the positive anterior drawer test and Lachmen’s test may be used. However, the best diagnostic tool is an MRI to determine where exactly the tear occurred and to what extent.
Recovry and rehab for an ACl rupture vary. Whether or not surgery is required to repair the ACL is determined by the level of activity before the injury occurred, what the patient expects to do after the injury heals, and the patients general health. In most cases,...
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