Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury

Anterior cruciate ligament injury is one of the most common knee injuries and often happens to people who are athletes in high demand sports like football soccer basketball etc.

People who are involved in these kinds of sports are the most likely to suffer this kind of injury end it often requires surgery depending on the severity of the injury.

The knee is made up of three bones which meet and form the knee joint itself; the thigh bone or femur, the kneecap, or patella and the shinbone or tibia. The kneecap is designed to provide a protection for this joint, the bones are connected by ligaments and there are four primary ligaments in the knee.

On the sides of the knee are the collateral ligaments; the medial and lateral collateral ligaments, the medial ligament is on the inside and the lateral is on the outside, these ligaments control the sideways motion of the knee and provide bracing for any movements that are at all usual.

The crucial ligament are found inside the knee joints and they cross each other and form X shape with the posterior cruciate ligament at the back and the anterior cruciate ligament at the front.

A great deal of the stability of the knee is provided by the anterior cruciate ligament which runs directly inside the middle of the knee and it prevents the tibia from sliding out in front of the femur.

Many anterior cruciate ligament injuries are accompanied by injury to other parts of the knee such as the meniscus, articulate cartilage and other ligaments.

The symptoms of a typical ACL injury can be a popping noise and the feeling of the need giving out as well as pain and swelling within 24 hours as well as total loss of motion range tenderness and discomfort especially when trying to walk.

If this type of injury is ignored and the athlete returns to the sport is highly likely that further damage will result including cartilage damage and possibly permanent injury.

ACL injuries and other ligament injuries sprains and are graded in terms of severity from grade 1 to grade 3.

A grade 1 sprain is only slight damage where the ligament has been overstretched but the knee joint is still stable.

A Grade 2 sprain is where the ligament has been stretched to the point of becoming loose and this is referred to as a partial ligament tear.

A grade 3 refers to an actual ligament tear resulting in instability of the knee and the ligament has actually been split.

Causes of an ACL injury can occur as a result of suddenly stopping, slowing down while running, a collision, as in the tackle, a bad landing after a jump or a sudden change of direction while running.

It is a known fact that female athletes have a higher tendency to suffer ACL injuries than male athletes in the same sports and this is believed to be due to relative differences in the alignment of the pelvis and lower extremities and possibly the effect of oestrogen in the properties of the ligaments.

Here is a link to a YouTube video that illustrates the surgical reconstruction procedure for an ACL injury