One of the most common knee injuries is an anterior cruciate ligament sprain or tear. Athletes who participate in high demand sports like football and basketball are more likely to injure their anterior cruciate ligaments. The cruciate ligaments are found inside your knee joint. They cross each other to form an “X” with the anterior cruciate ligament in front and the posterior cruciate ligament in back. The cruciate ligaments control the back and forth motion of your knee. Partial tears of the anterior cruciate ligament are rare; most ACL injuries are complete or near-complete tears. The anterior cruciate ligament can be injured in several ways:
* Changing direction rapidly
* Stopping suddenly
* Slowing down while running
* Landing from a jump incorrectly
* Direct contact or collision, such as a football tackle
Injured ligaments are considered “sprains” and are graded on a severity scale.
Grade 1 Sprains. The ligament is mildly damaged in a Grade 1 Sprain. It has been slightly stretched but is still able to help keep the knee joint stable.
Grade 2 Sprains. A Grade 2 Sprain stretches the ligament to the point where it becomes loose. This is often referred to as a partial tear of the ligament.
Grade 3 Sprains. This type of sprain is most commonly referred to as a complete tear of the ligament. The ligament has been split into two pieces, and the knee joint is unstable.
Treatment for an ACL tear will vary depending upon the patient’s individual needs. For example, a young athlete involved in agility sports will most likely require surgery to safely return to sports. A less active, usually older, individual may be able to return to a quieter lifestyle without surgery. Without surgery, as the swelling goes down, a careful rehabilitation program can be started. Specific exercises will restore function to your knee and strengthen the leg muscles that support it.
Feel free to call us at Rainham Physiotherapy Centre on 01634 377638 to book in if you feel you may be suffering from this injury or on any issues you have.