The Anterior Cruciate Ligament is
one of two central ligaments that support the knee. ACL injuries
occur most frequently in planting and cutting sports such as soccer
and basketball. ACL injuries are thought to occur more often in women
then in men due to the anatomical differences between them.
Cruciate Ligament also know as the ACL is located behind the patella
(kneecap). It connects the femur and tibia. The ACL acts as a seat
belt in the knee, it keeps the tibia from slipping as a result of
jerky movements. Since women s hips are wider it may put extra
pressure on the ACL, making it more vulnerable to injury. High
estrogen levels at mid-cycle may also make the ACL more likely to
tear from to much movement. Women tear their ACL s at a rate of two
to eight times that of men.
The ACL is
listed as the most commonly injured ligament in the knee. Most often
when ACL injuries occur the knee may feel as if it is coming apart or
giving way, and a commonly described pop may be heard at the time of
the injury. most athletes are unable to continue participating in
their activity, but some are able to stand and walk. Swelling usually
begins in the first few hours after injury. Pain progressively
worsens and muscle spasms may occur, A complete exam at the time of
the injury is ideal.
Cruciate Ligament reconstruction s are performed using arthroscopic
surgery. The surgery is performed by removing the damaged section of
the ACL and replacing it with a graft from the patella tendon,
hamstring tendon, or a cadaver graft. To connect the graft back into
the knee two tunnels are drilled one into the tibia and one into the
femur. Then two small pieces of bone are placed in the tunnels and
then the graft is attached to the bones.
rehabilitation after surgery involves a period of rest then the
gradual introduction of exercises to improve range of motion,
strength, and functional ability. Maximum recovery after ACL surgery
requires a rehabilitation program that starts directly after surgery.
It is important for a patient to complete their exercise program with
consistency. Recovery can take from four to nine months and on the
average of six months for the knee to completely heal correctly.
ACL injuries are
a major part of the sports world. When they occur they should be
taken care of quickly and efficiently to ensure a athletes return to
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