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  • Writer's pictureKeshia Petersen

THE ACL TEAR

When hearing a POP / SNAP while playing sport...



WHAT IS THE ACL


The ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) is a ligament in the knee which prevents hyperextension of the knee. Most ACL tears require surgery.


It is a common injury in athletes who play pivoting sports like rugby, soccer, football, basketball and hockey.



 


HOW DO YOU TEAR YOUR ACL


Most ACL's are torn during a sporting activity.


A change in direction and speed with the foot planted firmly on the ground. An audible pop or snap sound is heard.








 

WHAT TO EXPECT


An ACL tear can often occur after single leg landing, standing or jumping but this can also happen with landing on both feet.


You will experience pain & swelling immediately after your injury. Due to the swelling you will not be able to straighten your knee and you might experience your knee giving way.



 


WHAT ELSE TO LOOK OUT FOR


ACL injuries are high impact injuries therefore they rarely occur in isolation.


They are often associated with Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) tears, Meniscus (padding of the knee joints) injuries & bone bruising.


Injuries which are uncommon but could be associated with ACL tears are fractures of the tibia (shin bone) and a popliteal cyst (ball of fluid in the knee crease.)



 


RISK FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH AN ACL TEAR


Woman are more at risk because the smaller joint contact surface area. They have a wider pelvis due to their anatomy which causes an angle at the knee resulting in altered muscle strength.


External factors are out of our control. To name a few – our competitive nature during a game versus training. In a game situation all sportsman would like to perform at their peak therefore the risk for injury increases.


A sportsman’s footwear and playing surface impacts the way they may land during a match or training.


Protective equipment is used to safeguard a player but due to unforeseen circumstances this could cause more harm than good.



 


HOW TO PREPARE FOR YOUR OPERATION


Important management prior to your operation are RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation).


You will be on crutches and you will be unable to weight bear for a few weeks.


Gentle strengthening of the knee as well as gentle knee range of movement exercises will be given.


Due to rehab being a 9 month process you need to mentally prepare yourself for the road to recovery.



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