What is an ACL injury?
An ACL injury is damage to your anterior cruciate ligament which is situated on the front of your knee joint. It typically occurs following sporting activity and can have a significant impact on your independence and mobility, affecting activities of daily living.
Often you dont just damage your ACL and other structures are involved for example the meniscus and MCL are often damaged too.
The ligament injury can be categorised into 3 grades:
Grade 1: mild damage
Grade 2: partial ligament tear
Grade 3: complete ligament tear
What causes an ACL injury?
An ACL injury can happen if you:
- Over-extend your knee joint
- Quickly change direction or stop moving when turning, landing from a jump or running.
- Direct blow to the side of your knee such as a rugby tackle
Sports where ACL injuries frequently occur include: basketball, skiing and football.
What are the symptoms of an ACL injury?
Early symptoms of an ACL injury include:
- Knee swelling
- Pain, particularly when weight bearing on the injured knee
- A pop at the time of injury
- Tenderness along the joint line
- Loss of full range of movement
How is an ACL injury diagnosed?
Your physiotherapist can carry out a full knee assessment to determine whether or not you have an ACL injury. An MRI scan can confirm diagnosis and show the extent of the injury, it can also show if you have any other knee injuries.
If you suspect you have damaged your ACL, stop playing sports.
If the ACL injury is not too severe then it can be managed conservatively with bracing and physiotherapy. If you have a serious ACL injury, reconstruction surgery may be required to repair the ligament.
What treatment can Farrell Physiotherapy offer for an ACL injury?
There are several different treatment options available if you have an ACL injury and what treatments are used for you will be dependent on your assessment findings. Your physiotherapist will choose the most appropriate treatment options based on your symptoms and response to treatment.
Physiotherapy can include:
- Functional activities based on everyday activities
- Progressive strengthening exercises
- Ice/heat therapy
- Balance training
- Range of movement exercises
- Strengthening exercises
Benefit of physiotherapy for an ACL injury?
Physiotherapy is important when you are recovering from an ACL injury in order to properly rehabilitate your knee and prevent the injury occurring again. The particular benefits you feel from physiotherapy will depend on your original symptoms and treatment goals.
Physiotherapy assists with:
- Reduced pain
- Reduced swelling
- Improved range of movement
- Increased muscle strength
- Improved balance and proprioception
- Enhanced general fitness
- Promotion of healing and a quicker return to sports
- Promotion of independence with activities of daily living