What is the Anterior Cruciate Ligament?

The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is a thick connective band that runs diagonally through the middle of the knee. It prevents the tibia (shin bone) from sliding out in front of the femur (thigh bone), as well as providing rotational stability to the knee.

ACL Rupture

Unfortunately ACL rupture is one of the most severe acute sporting injuries of the knee, often leading to surgery, extended 12 month rehabilitation and early degenerative joint changes. It commonly occurs with additional damage to other structures to the knee.

ACL Injuries can occur either via a contact mechanism (eg, bump or tackle), or via a non-contact mechanism (eg, twisting or landing awkwardly).

Non-contact ACL injuries

  • It is estimated that up to 50% of ACL injuries occur via a non-contact mechanism.
  • Usually the sportsperson lands or cuts incorrectly, the knee suffers acute force such as hyperextension or a twisting force and the ACL ruptures.
  • It is proposed that up to 74% of these ACL Injuries can be prevented!

Many of the non-contact risk factors that may cause ACL injuries are modifiable, such as:

  1. Reduced proprioception (body and/or joint awareness)
  2. Reduced hip strength and/or stability
  3. Reduced core stability
  4. Poor landing technique such as:
  • landing with your knees too straight
  • landing with your hips not bending enough
  • landing with your knee twisting inwards

How can Physiotherapy help?

At Physiohealth we are able to help teach you how to prevent an ACL injury from occurring through:

1.Identifying Risk factors through assessing:

  • Leg, hip and core strength
  • Balance
  • Landing technique

2.Implementing a Treatment including

  • Strength exercises
  • Balance re-training
  • Neuromuscular rehabilitation
  • Education of correct landing technique
  • Drills on improving landing technique

At Physiohealth, we use our clinical and sporting experience to develop these programs. They are available for:

  • Individual athletes One-on-One in the clinic to work on specific issues relating to the athlete
  • Group/sports teams, which can:
  1.  Reduce the number of ACL injuries that a club experiences
  2.  Lower injury insurance claims against the club
  3.  Improve the chance of club success and continuity of team
  • This includes education on appropriate drills and how to recognise warning signs so the coach can monitor and manage their athletes.

Contact your nearest Physiohealth clinic for a consultation.