One of the most common knee injuries, anterior cruciate ligament damage occurs when the ACL cannot hold the joint in correct alignment.
The anterior cruciate ligament is one of four that are crucial to the stability of the knee joint - the ACL works to restrain excessive forward movement of the tibia. It is attached to the femur on one end, and to the tibia on the other, meaning that it has to withstand great forces when we run and jump.
Injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament often occur when an athlete twists or hyper-extends the joint, and are usually accompanied by a pop, or the feeling of tearing in the joint. Sometimes the knee begins to feel better after a few minutes and the athlete attempts to return to play, only to have the knee give out.
ACL injuries are common in fast moving sports such as:
- Hockey (Ice and Field)
Treatment will depend on the diagnosis, and may include surgery and rehabilitation, or just a period of rehab.
Rehab will focus on cycling, which is encouraged as soon as is possible, and closed chain strengthening exercise. Closed chain means that forces are applied through the foot, as in exercises such as squats, step ups, leg presses, lunges, and calf raises.