Understanding the ACL
- Posted on: Oct 15 2019
Since we’re smack dab in the midst of another football season here in Midland and throughout the country, you’re bound to hear about ACL injury. This is probably the most common knee injury suffered by football players. So, in this month’s blog, let’s get into just what is the ACL, what happens to it, and such.
Dr. Floyd and Dr. Rowland have extensive experience repairing ACL injuries.
What is the ACL?
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of four primary ligaments in the knee. Ligaments connect bones. In the knee joint, there are three bones: the thighbone (femur), shinbone (tibia), and kneecap (patella).
Of the ligaments, the cruciate ligaments are on the inside of the knee joint. The ACL is in the front, the posterior cruciate in the back. They work together to form an X and control the back and forth motion of the knee. The collateral ligaments are on the side of the knee: the medial collateral ligament on the inside and the lateral collateral ligament on the outside. They manage any sideways motion in the knee.
Grading the injury
When a patient has injured his or her ACL, the damage is graded based on the extent. These injuries also usually involve damage to surrounding structures such as the cartilage, meniscus, and such. Ligaments injuries are known as “sprains” and have these grades:
- Grade 1 sprain— Ligament is stretched, but not torn. It can still keep the knee stable.
- Grade 2 sprain— Ligament is stretched to the point that it is loose. This is often called a partial tear. These are rare with the ACL.
- Grade 3 sprain— This is a complete tear of the ligament. Most ACL tears are complete or near complete.
Causes of ACL tears
Force is at play in these injuries. These are common causes of ACL tears:
- Rapid directional change while running
- Sudden stopping
- Rapid slowing down while running
- Landing at a bad angle from a jump
- Direct contact or collision
Contrary to what you may have heard, a torn ACL will not heal itself, and partial tears are quite rare. If the patient is young and wants to continue stressing the knee, he or she will need surgery. Dr. Floyd and Dr. Rowland can usually repair these injuries through arthroscopic methods using a ligament graft.
If you have questions about the ACL and possible damage, please give us a call at (432) 520-3020 to make an appointment.
Posted in: ACL Surgery