What is an ACL?
The Anterior Cruciate Ligament connects your thigh (femur) and your shin (tibia). It plays an important role in controlling rotation of your knee, specifically when you are trying to change direction quickly.
What causes an ACL injury?
Usually there are a combination of factors that can cause you to injure your ACL. The biggest one in our opinion is luck, it can just happen. Previous knee and ankle injuries can also sometimes mean your chance of injury is increased.
Why is the ACL so important?
Playing sports without an ACL puts you at increased risk of other injuries to your knee. Specifically your knee cartilage which is very difficult to repair and treat. As your knee will 'move' a little bit more without your ACL, you can be unlucky enough to damage your meniscus or cartilage if you suffer another knee 'accident'.
How is it treated?
The vast majority of patients undergo ACL reconstruction surgery to repair the ligament. There are a number of surgical options which would be discussed with your orthopaedic surgeon. Normal recovery timetable is to return to the majority of your activities within 9 months.
Do people re-injure their ACL?
Yes, research has been shown that you can reinjure your ACL on either leg, even after surgery. This can be very disheartening as it can mean another 9-12 months without activity, and can cause people to stop being active.
Is there anything we can do to prevent reinjury?
Yes, through a proper ACL rehabilitation plan specific to your body type, and making sure you don't return too early.