• Shruti GOCHHWAL

ACL Knee Injury: Why are Athletes Likely to Suffer From It

An ACL knee injury has become a common word for sports enthusiasts, especially those who follow football and basketball. Every season there are sportspersons who suffer from ACL injuries and are out for lengthy spells.

Two decades ago an ACL injury was considered the end of a player’s career in some cases but today with the advancement of treatment options athletes return to their sport.

What is an ACL Knee Injury?

An injured footballer

Many footballers suffer from ACL knee injuries through their careers, Credits: Pxfuel


The knee contains a ligament which is known as Anterior Cruciate Ligament. The functions of an ACL include stabilising the knee and keeping the shin bone in position. When the anterior cruciate ligament is damaged, the condition is known as ACL knee injury. It occurs due to external activities.

Females are more likely to suffer from ACL tears because of the female anatomy. The positioning of the hips and narrow femoral space makes ACL tears more common in women. A massage gun is helpful in certain NDIS patient to recover quicker from their physio treatment.

Two players playing basketball

Female athletes are more likely to suffer from acl injuries, Credits: Pikist


Which Activities Can Cause Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tear?

The following activities can cause acl ligament tears:

  1. Direction change while running

  2. Knee overextension

  3. A sudden burst of pace while running

  4. Landing awkwardly from a jump

These activities put large amounts of pressure on the anterior cruciate ligament which results in damage and tear of the ligament.

Why are Athletes Likely to Suffer From ACL Knee Injury?

One person tackling another

External contact can cause acl knee injury, Credits: Wikimedia Commons


Athletes who are involved in high intensity sports such as football are likely to suffer because of the following reasons:

External Contact: Sports such as football, rugby and kabbadi involve small amounts of physical contact in the form of tackles. These tackles often involve the use of excessive force against various body parts. Tackles result in a lot of injuries and a torn acl is a common injury.

If the external force puts pressure on the knee joint then the acl can be torn.

Specific Movements Required by the Sport: There are certain movements which are used in sports that put extra pressure on the anterior cruciate ligament. During these, the ligament becomes weak which makes it easier for it to be damaged.

The movements in football which can weaken the ligament are cross field long passes and slide tackles.

Fast Rotation of the Knees: In addition to sprinting, rotating the knees at pace can cause anterior cruciate ligament tear. The sudden rotation pushes the shin bone against the ligament; this pushing can weaken and damage the ligament. ACL tear due to rotation is most common in basketball. However, activities such as dribbling and half turns can also cause it among footballers.

Which Sporting Professionals Have a Higher Chance of Suffering From ACL Knee Injury?

A Person skiing

Skiing can lead to acl injury, Credits: Wallpaperflare


Athletes from the following sports are likely to suffer from ACL tears:

  1. Football

  2. Basketball

  3. Skiing

  4. Hockey

  5. Volleyball

  6. Tennis

  7. Badminton

  8. Athletics

What is the Treatment for ACL Knee Injury?

Some people can continue to live their lives without getting treatment and have their movement restricted. However, professional sportspeople require treatment.

The treatment requires a surgery where the anterior cruciate ligament is repaired or is reconstructed. In some cases, multiple surgeries are needed. After the surgery, a long physical rehabilitation program is needed.

A study showed 72% footballers return to football after completing treatment. Another study showed that average treatment time for professional athletes to return to their respective sports was 12.2 months.

Takeaway

Many famous athletes such as Peyton Manning, Alan Shearer and Ruud Van Nisterlooy have suffered from this condition and come back to their field of play.

ACL knee injury is a long term condition but it is not the end of a player’s career anymore. The surgical treatment options have shown positive results. Physical rehabilitation is an essential part of the treatment.

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