Musculo-skeletal Injuries (Dec. 10)

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)

  • What is the impact of the injury on function?  What normal movement(s) is(are) impaired?

When the ACL is damaged, the functions that are no longer available are the ability to move your knee backward and forward. This ligament also helps the tibia from going forwards in front of the femur. This ligament is one of the four major ligaments in your knee because it provides stabilization when turning or planting. 

  • What bones/muscles are involved? (Be specific.)

The bones that are involved with the ACL are the Femur, Tibia, and patella (knee).

  • How is the injury caused?  What action was required for the injury to occur?

An ACL tear is usually found in sports such as football, basketball, volleyball, and tennis. This tear usually occurs when an athlete stomps their foot really hard on the ground or when the knee rotates while landing, especially when the knee is in an unnatural position.

  • What is done immediately to treat it?

Usually after an ACL tear they will ice it to reduce the swelling and raise the leg so no pressure is put on it anymore and then your doctor will determine if you will need surgery plus rehabilitation or just rehabilitation alone. When you get a surgery on your ACL it cant be successfully sewn together so the ligament will usually be replaced with a piece of tendon from another part of your knee or leg.  

  • What physical therapy is required?  How long before normal functionality is attained?

The physical therapy that is required is the use of crutches and, possibly, a knee brace, exercises that help regain your full knee motion, and muscle- strengthening and stability exercises. It could take up to 9 months or more to recover from this injury.