There are several anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries that can involve partial or complete ligament tears. Half of these cases are usually self-inflicted and they do not involve any contact with another player.
The ligaments are made out of durable, fibrous material that connects the bones at the joints. Out of the four major ligaments that hold the knee joint in place, the anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament are prone to partial tears, stretches and complete ruptures. The ACL is positioned in the front part of the knee which is the smallest of the four knee ligaments. It is vital for stabilizing the knee when engaged in any physical activities. Once this ligament tears, the recovery can take a long time.
How ACL injuries occur
The ACL is responsible for preventing the shin bone below from sliding beneath and the thighbone above. Without the ligaments, the knee becomes unstable and prone to frequent dislocation. Take note that the ACL can be torn, stretched or completely ripped off when an individual runs, stops abruptly, decelerates, lands awkwardly after a jump, caught off-balance and hyperextends the knee or changes direction with the knee in extended position.
Take note that the precise cause is uncertain but it might involve the way the muscles function or fail to work as well as the anatomical structure of the individual. Once the individual does not have adequate muscular strength, coordination or balance required in sports, there is an increased risk for serious knee injury.
Who are at risk for ACL injuries?
ACL injuries occur frequently among women than men. Due to the lack of balanced muscular strength between the hamstrings and quadriceps as well as the incorrect training for sports, it contributes to the cases of injuries.
Sports such as basketball and soccer put individuals at risk for ACL injuries including gymnastics, volleyball, hockey, rugby, wrestling, skiing and lacrosse. Those who play football sustain damage to the ACL from non-contact movements as well as sustaining blows to the knee.
Symptoms of ACL injuries
- Severe knee pain at the time the injury was sustained and worsens if the individual stands
- Loud popping sound at the time of injury
- Inability to bear weight
- Swelling within 12 hours
- Instability right after the injury
Treatment for ACL injuries
If you will enroll in a first aid course, you will learn the proper way to apply ice. The application for each session must be 15-20 minutes at least 3-4 times in a day to minimize the swelling.
Elevate the affected leg higher than the level of the heart to reduce the swelling. Instruct the individual to avoid moving the knee as much as possible. You can even use an elastic wrap, splint or crutches. By limiting the movement, it can help prevent further injury. For severe cases of knee injury such as a torn ACL, it is best to consult a doctor as soon as possible.