What is ACL?

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injuries can be considered as the most commonly reported knee trauma or injury type in athletes.

Although, ACL injuries can happen to anyone but are more common in athletes because it is caused by a sudden stop or turn movement which occurs mostly in competitive athletics rather than normal daily routine.

The ACL injury happens when the cruciate ligament which is located inside the knee joint is fully or partially torn. The treatment options largely depend on the degree of tear of the ligament. If the damage is less, and the ligament is still intact and becomes loose, the knee will still be stable. In such cases the ligament will repair by itself, the injury can be treated non-surgically through therapy and assistive bracing. While, if the ligament is fully torn, it will not heal by itself, therefore, surgical procedures become inevitable to restore full motion of the knee.

7 Facts About ACL Injuries

  1. Risk of Osteoarthritis. About half of the population who are affected by ACL injuries are prone to developing osteoarthritis after the injury.
  2. ACL in Women. In comparison to male athletes, the female athletes are at a higher risk of ACL injuries due to the additional stress on their knees because of the increased pelvic angles in women.
  3. Additional Damage. More than half of the people with ACL injuries have also been found to have collateral damage to their cartilage or other ligaments knee.
  4. Surgical Recommendation. If the cruciate ligament is fully torn, it will not be healed by itself. In such cases of ACL injuries or a combination of injuries, a surgical procedure is recommended to repair and reconstruct the broken ligaments. These surgeries are often referred to as ACL Reconstruction or ACL Repair surgeries and are performed commonly on the athletes that take part in competitive sports such as Field hockey, Soccer, and Basketball etc.
  5. Preventative Training. ACL injuries can be reduced by as high as 50% by empowering the knee ligaments though preventative training programs. The key to such preventive programs is consistency which means that the athletes are suggested to perform the stipulated set of exercises regularly.
  6. Preventive Exercises for ACL. All exercises and activities must be started after a proper warmup routine starting from 10-15 mins in beginners and up to an hour in advanced athletes. The preventative training exercise schedule should include proprioception, strength, and biofeedback based exercises.
    Benefits of Preventative Training. Athletes who follow a consistent schedule of preventive exercise and training can reap benefits for not only mitigating their risk of ACL injuries, it also helps them to improve their overall performance level, aerobic fitness and sprinting skills.

In case an ACL repair or reconstruction surgery is performed, physical rehabilitation is usually recommended to the patients after the surgery in order to restore mobility and stability to the patients’ knee. The relative recovery typically requires around nine months and it is targeted to regain the basic movement of the damaged knee joint.

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