Practice Plus Group MSK and Diagnostics

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) sports injury

The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) is one of the four main stabilising ligaments of the knee and attaches to the knee end of the femur (thigh bone), at the back of the joint and passes down through the knee joint to the front of the flat upper surface of the tibia (shin bone).

We often think of sports injuries in the same breath as premier sportspeople, but amateur and ‘part-time’ seekers of physical activity can also fall foul of the odd injury or two – particularly if they have launched into exercise without proper preparation.

A torn ACL is a relatively common knee injury. It usually occurs through a twisting force to the knee while the foot is firmly on the ground, or upon landing from a jump. It can also result from a direct blow to the knee, such as during a football or rugby tackle.

The symptoms of an ACL injury may include:

  • A pop or crack when the injury occurs
  • An instant feeling of instability, which may be covered later by swelling
  • Extreme pain, especially immediately after receiving the injury
  • Swelling of the knee and restricted movement
  • Widespread tenderness which, if at the side of the knee, may indicate cartilage damage.


What to do when you get a sports injury

Stop what you are doing immediately and apply the RICE method:

Rest the area that is injured

Apply Ice to that area

Compress the area to restrict swelling

Where possible, Elevate the area also to restrict swelling.

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