Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tear

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tear

The Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is a supportive ligament located within the knee joint. It stops the shin bone (tibia) sliding forward on the thigh bone (femur).

Causes

ACL injuries can be the result of contact and non-contact sports. Often they are from non-contact sports that involve side stepping (cutting), jumping and landing, and deceleration (quickly stopping). Soccer would be a good example of a sport that involves these movements with high amounts of ACL injuries.

Symptoms

When the ACL is torn an audible ‘pop’ can often be heard. This is the ligament tearing. Pain and swelling within the knee occur soon after the injury. The knee can become very swollen. It will be difficult to walk or put weight through the leg. The ACL ligament can be fully torn (complete tear) or partially torn.

Treatment

The treatment for an ACL tear is generally categorised into two treatment options. These include surgical treatment and non-surgical treatment. Depending on the type of ACL tear and associated injuries, such as those that involving cartilage (meniscus) tears. One of the options will be advised.

Non-surgical treatment involves exercise therapy delivered by a sports chiropractor or physiotherapist. The exercises are designed to improve the knee function to the pre-injury level. Surgical treatment involves repairing the ACL with a piece of tendon taken from the leg on the same side as the ACL injury.

Regardless of which approach is ultimately taken. A rehabilitation program both before and after the surgery or after the injury will need to be completed. Rehabilitation will take approximately 12 months on average.

For more information please contact Sydney Spine & Sports Centre (S3C).


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