The knee is a hinge joint located where the end of the femur (thigh bone) joins to the tibia (shin bone).
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is located inside the knee joint and stabilizes the joint by preventing it sliding forwards.
An ACL injury involves extreme stretching or tearing of this ligament in the knee. A hard twist, or excessive force on the ACL can tear it. As a result the knee gives way and can no longer support the body.
How does an ACL injury happen?
ACL tears can occur through contact or non-contact injuries. These include a direct blow to the side of the knee, changing direction while running, pivoting and jumping, or over- extending the knee.
What are the symptoms?
When you experience an ACL injury, you may experience hear or feel a ‘pop or ‘snap’ inside your knee joint’. It is usually accompanied with immediate pain and swelling. Weight bearing through your leg may be difficult and you may experience giving way.
How can physiotherapy help?
The earlier the better! Rest is the first thing you should do and aim to reduce the swelling by using the RICE method of treatment (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation). More information on the RICE method can be found on our “Acute Injury Management” information sheet. Following up with physiotherapy is important. At Dynamic Physio we can assess your knee. If we suspect an ACL injury we can start on a course of muscle strengthening and rehabilitation exercises. We can also refer onwards to an orthopaedic surgeon if we suspect a full rupture.