Part 1 – ACL Series with Rheine
What is the ACL?
Ever wondered what your doctor was talking about when he said you “tore your ACL”? Stay tuned to find out!
Hey, I’m Rheine from Miami Physio and Lakelands Physio, and I’m going to talk to you about the ACL – what it is, how it gets injured, 3 exercises you can do to prevent an ACL injury, and what a physio can do to help you recover if you had one.
What exactly is the ACL? The ACL (or Anterior Cruciate Ligament) is one of the key ligaments that helps stabilize the knee. It runs diagonally in the centre of your knee from your thigh bone and to your shinbone and prevents the shinbone from sliding too far forward under the thigh bone. It also provides stability to the knee during rotation.
So what are the most common causes of ACL injuries? Often, ACL injuries occur during sports such as basketball, football, and soccer that involve landing from a jump, rapidly decelerating, or turning quickly to change directions (like pivoting or cutting).
How do you know if you’ve injured your ACL? At the time of the injury, a “pop” or “snap” can sometimes be felt or heard. The amount of pain varies but can be quite severe, to the point that the person is unable to continue play or activity. Immediate swelling of the knee usually develops within the first several hours and the person may feel their knee giving way. Imaging, such as an x-ray and MRI, help to evaluate the extent of the damage and determine whether other structures have been affected, as well.
So what should you do to prevent such an injury? First things first, it’s important to undergo a thorough assessment to get a correct diagnosis and check if there are other associated injuries, as these rarely occur in isolation. Book in with one of our physiotherapists if you would like your knee examined.
What else can you do? Well, strengthening and training the muscles around the knee and the lower extremities, in general, will help prevent ACL injuries.
Keep an eye out for part 2 for 3 exercises to prevent an ACL injury.