What are ACL Injuries?
The ACL is one of the four major ligaments in the knee that provides stability to the joint. An injury to the ACL can be classified into three grades. Grade 3 is a complete rupture of the ACL which means that the fibres of the ligament are completely torn. It is commonly injured whilst playing sport, either in a contact or non-contact situation. Sports at a greater risk are those that involve pivoting, cutting or sudden turns. Unfortunately, female athletes are also at a greater risk of ACL rupture.
Diagnosis of ACL Injury
To diagnose an ACL injury, your physiotherapist will perform a special test to determine the laxity of the ligament. You may also be referred for an MRI to confirm the findings.
In regard to management of ACL ruptures, sometimes surgery is required other times they can be managed conservatively. There are several factors to be considered when making this decision and your physiotherapist can assist you with this. If undergoing surgery, a graft is used to replace the ACL, most commonly from the hamstring or the patella tendon.
ACL Injury Treatment
It is recommended that you attend physiotherapy prior to having surgery to complete a prehab program as this will assist in your post-op recovery. Following surgery or if managing the injury conservatively, it is important to attend regular physiotherapy sessions to regain knee range of motion, manage the graft site, improve strength and undergo a structured return to sport program.