Things to know about ACL injury
Sports participation results in 70 percent of Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tears and the majority of these occur in the 15-45-year-old population, but these injuries are also seen commonly in non-sports cases. Majority of ACL injuries are non-contact injuries that occur at the time of sudden change in direction with a planted foot (i.e. cutting) or stopping suddenly.
The ACL is an important stabilising ligament of the knee that provides the hinge to keep the knee stable while moving. When a tear occurs the patient often reports hearing a pop and they usually cannot walk on the injured limb. During the injury it is common for the knee to partially dislocate, resulting in bruising and sometimes a small fracture at the back of the tibia and on the femur.
Females, particularly female athletes are two to eight times more prone to ACL injuries. This is primarily due to mechanical reasons. Another factor that increases the risk of ligament rupture is the interface between the player’s shoes and the ground that results in higher friction. High risk sports include football, basketball, volleyball & hockey.
Preventive programmes are based on analysing the mechanism of injury of ACL ruptures as well as the kinematics of the body position during landing and cutting. The goal is to train the athlete/patient to keep their centre of gravity forward and to encourage better leg rotation and control. These programmes aim reduce the incidence of ACL injuries by up to half.
Athletes and patients with ACL reconstruction often feel that continuing with a knee brace can prevent further such injuries. There is however no evidence to support use of braces in prevention of ACL injuries.
Speak with our orthopaedic expert, Dr. Reetadyuti Mukhopadhyay, Shoulder and Anthroscopy Surgeon, Department of Orthopaedics at the CK Birla Hospital about exercises and programmes to help prevent ACL tears and injuries.