Knee injuries can be painful. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is a key tissue band of ligaments which stabilizes your knee joint, holding the bones in your knee together. The purpose of the ACL is to prevent your tibia from sliding out in front of your femur.
ACL injuries are most common in athletes but may occur in anyone when a rapid change in direction, abrupt stop or significant collision happens. Given the ACEL is one of the most vital ligaments in your knee, injuring it can be very painful.
So what should you know about ACL injuries? Here is some information about ACL injuries that may be helpful to know:
- ACL injuries can occur in players of all sports but are most typical in football, basketball, and soccer.
- Females more commonly injure their ACL than males. It is probable this is due to factors such as differences in the muscle anatomy, core stability and neuromuscular activation.
- 50% of all ACL injuries are accompanied with damage to other ligaments or cartilage of the knee.
- Surgery is typically recommended for ACL injury, especially when multiple components of the knee joint are damaged.
- 70% of ACL injuries occur in non-contact sports
- 50% of athletes diagnosed with an ACL injury will develop osteoarthritis within 10-20 years of the injury.
- Preventative training 2-3x/week can reduce an individual’s risk of an ACL injury.
- Preventative training exercises for ACL injury only take 10-15 minutes to complete and include balance, strength training, jump/plyometric training and stretching.
- Preventative training programs reduce ACL and other traumatic knee injuries by 50%
- Preventative training has shown to improve athlete’s vertical leap, aerobic fitness, and sprint speed.
If you experience an ACL injury – which upon injuring often includes a loud “pop” within the knee or feeling the knee “give out” – it’s important to seek medical care immediately.
For those interested in knee injury prevention, click to view one of my favorite knee injury prevention programs (KIPP) which was introduced to me in 2018 following a girl’s basketball season with an unprecedented amount of ACL tears.