What is anterior cruciate Ligament?
It is ligament which joins the thigh bone (femur) to shin bone (Tibia) and which prevents the shin bone from moving forward excessively under the thigh bone.
Common causes for ACL tear:
- Direct trauma or blow to the side or behind the knee
- Sudden change of direction while running leading to ACL tear due to twisting of femur while tibia is stationary
- Over extension which happens when landing from a jump.
ACL tear is accompanied by a
- Pop sound during ligament tear followed by Intense pain
- Immediate swelling
- Inability to bear weight
- Knee instability
- Loss of range of movement
- Sports: Athletes are at risk of ACL tear due to frequent bending and twisting movements. Ex – soccer, basketball, high jump etc.
- Gender: ACL tear is most common in women because of thigh muscle imbalances due to weak hamstrings.
- Environmental: Uneven surface or wet surface may also contribute to ACL tear.
First line treatment is conservative management to:
- reduce knee pain and swelling
- increase range of knee movement
- increase muscle strength
- increase stability of the knee
- The above goals are achieved using a range of physiotherapy treatments such as exercise therapy. Treatment is progressed over a period of 3-6 months, and improvements are unique to each individual, depending on severity of the injury.
- Pain and swelling can be managed by anti-inflammatories and analgesics.
- ACL reconstruction surgery involves replacing the torn ACL with graft from the knee. Commonly harvested grafts are patella and hamstring tendon.
What can I do to help myself?
- Protect your knee by wearing knee brace
- Restricting knee bending and twisting movements
- Ice your knee after exercises
- Elevate the limb during rest
- Do not return to any sport activities when u have weakness in muscles.