ACL 101

ACL Surgery Midland, TX

Since we just completed spring practices and are all looking ahead to another season of football across Texas, at Urgent Orthopedic Specialists we want to take a few blogs and address the most common football injury, or at least the one we all hear about the most — ACL tears. Sprains or tears of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) are quite common in football, soccer, and basketball. For the player to continue to play the sport, it’s likely they will need surgery from Dr. Floyd or Dr. Rowland and the entire team at Urgent Orthopedic Specialists.

Let’s start with the basics of the ACL and how it is injured.

What is the ACL?

First, what is the ACL? We all hear about it from every sportscaster, but what is it?

Three bones form the knee joint: the thighbone (femur), shinbone (tibia), and kneecap (patella). The kneecap provides protection to the front of the knee.

Those bones are connected by ligaments, and in the knee there are four primary ligaments. The cruciate ligaments are on the inside of the knee joint. The anterior cruciate ligament is in the front, and the posterior cruciate is in the back. Together they form an “X” and control the back and forth motion of the knee.

The collateral ligaments are on the sides of the knee. The medial collateral ligament is on the inside and the lateral collateral ligament is on the outside. Their job is to control sideways motion of the knee, limiting it.

ACL injuries

About one of every two ACL injuries also involve damage to surrounding structures such as the cartilage, the meniscus, or other ligaments. When you injure a ligament, it is deemed a “sprain” and is graded on the severity of the injury.

  • Grade 1 — Ligament is mildly damaged. Slightly stretched, but it is still able to keep the knee stable when in use.
  • Grade 2 — Ligament is stretched to the point it is loose. This is also known as a partial tear. Partial ACL tears are rare.
  • Grade 3 — This is a complete tear of the ligament. The ligament is split and the knee has no stability. Most ACL tears are complete or nearly complete.

Why do athletes get ACL injuries?

Force applied in the wrong direction is usually behind most ACL injuries. Look at this list of typical causes and you’ll understand why we see so many football and soccer players at Urgent Orthopedic Specialists.

  • Stopping suddenly
  • Rapid slowing while running
  • Rapid directional change when running
  • Landing at a bad angle from a jump
  • Direct contact or collision

Do you think you’ve injured your ACL? For over 30 years, we’ve been repairing them. Call us at Urgent Orthopedic Specialists, (432) 520-3020.

Posted in: ACL Surgery

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