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Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury (ACL)

Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury (ACL)

What is an ACL injury?

Your anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is located within your knee joint and connects to the tibia (shin bone) and the femur (thigh bone). It helps control the backward and forward movement at your knee joint, so that the joint remains stable and the bones don’t slide forwards or backwards on one another. It is one of four primary stabilising ligaments of the knee.

When the ACL is injured, it may be a simple sprain, a partial tear, or even a complete rupture. It is essential to know the extent of your injury so that treatment can be maximally effective.

What causes an ACL injury?

ACL injuries are often sustained in sports and physical activities. They are more common in females, which may be due to differences in muscle strength, control and conditioning. Causes can include:

  • Direct trauma/impact, such as from tackles
  • Quickly changing direction during running
  • Sudden stops, especially during fast-paced activity
  • Poorly landing jumps
  • Overextending the knee

What does it feel like?

Symptoms vary depending on the severity of the injury, and can include:

  • Feeling unstable, like your knee is giving out from under you
  • A ‘popping’ sound on impact/injury
  • Pain and tenderness
  • Swelling
  • Limited movement in the joint

How is it treated?

Initially, it’s important to stop physical activity and avoid walking on the affected knee where possible. Resting, elevating and icing the knee can help reduce the initial pain and swelling.

If you have ruptured or torn your ACL, you may require surgery. It’s important that you have a diagnosis to confirm the extent of your injury, which may involve having an ultrasound, x-ray or MRI imaging.

Under the care of our knowledgeable podiatrists here at South Burnett, we’ll work to:

  • Optimise conditions for the knee to heal
  • Rebuild strength in and around the knee
  • Restore your movement at the knee joint (this will likely be restricted following your injury)
  • Reduce the likelihood of this injury recurring in the future

To achieve this, we may:

  • Use orthotics to control motion at the feet and legs
  • Assess the stability of your footwear and make recommendations if your current footwear is hindering your recovery
  • Teach you how to strap your knee during your recovery
  • Use a knee brace
  • Use physical therapy exercises to improve strength and flexion in and around the knee

Every treatment plan is unique and tailored specifically to you, your symptoms, circumstances and assessment findings. Our goal is always to deliver the best outcomes for you so you can stay active and mobile, to keep doing the things you love.

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