An Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) rupture is a common, yet debilitating knee injury that often occurs during sports activities involving sudden stops, changes in direction, or jumping. The ACL is one of the major ligaments in the knee, responsible for providing stability and controlling the forward movement of the tibia (shinbone) in relation to the femur (thighbone). When the ACL tears, it results in a significant loss of knee stability, making it difficult for individuals to weight-bear well and perform routine movements like climbing stair cases.
ACL ruptures typically happen due to a combination of factors, including sudden deceleration, pivoting, or direct impact to the knee. Athletes engaged in sports like AFL, soccer, basketball, and netball are particularly prone to ACL injuries, and unfortunately there is a higher percentage of females in these statistics than their male counterparts. The telltale signs of an ACL rupture include a distinct popping sound at the time of injury, immediate swelling, and a feeling of instability in the knee. Prompt physiotherapy (or sport physician) evaluation is crucial to confirm the diagnosis through physical examination called the lachmans test, imaging studies like MRI, and assessment of the extent of ligament damage.
Treatment options for ACL ruptures depend on various factors, such as the patient's age, activity level, and the severity of the injury. Conservative approaches are an option depending on your chose future activities and this involves extensive physiotherapy planning and rehabilitation exercises to strengthen the surrounding muscles and improve joint stability. However, in many cases, surgical intervention, such as ACL reconstruction, is recommended to restore stability and function to the knee joint. Recovery from an ACL rupture involves a comprehensive rehabilitation process, often requiring 12+ months of dedicated efforts to regain strength, flexibility, and confidence in the affected knee, as well as tackling skills like running, jumping, cutting and return to sport.
If you or someone you know just heard that fateful ‘pop’, please explain this to our admin team when you call us (on 9431 5955) and we’ll do our best to fit you in the same day.