ACL Knee Injury & Football
May 13 2008 | Articles
Overview of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL)
The Anterior Cruciate Ligament or ACL is located deep inside the knee joint. It is the connective ligament between the thigh and shin bone. The ACL functions to prevent the shin from moving too far forward and rotating beyond its limit. The ACL is very important in stabilizing the knee joint.
What is ACL Knee Injury?
ACL knee injury results if the knee joint undergoes moderate to severe trauma from impact.
The trauma or impact from a tackle can result from excessive turning or twisting of the knee. Landing very hard can also cause ACL knee injury. During the impact, the knee may be in a bent or overextended position. ACL knee injuries are becoming more and more common due to the increased intensity of football.
Upon impact, the player may feel the knee joint suddenly snap or pop. Pain will be present upon acquiring the injury which ranges from moderate to severe depending on the force and extent of the damage. Other parts which may also be damaged together with the ACL are the Medial Collateral Ligament as well as the Menisci Cartilage. Bleeding inside the joint will occur next which is also known as hemarthrosis as evidenced by swollen and painful knee joints.
The individual may still feel that he or she is capable of continuing football after the incident but once the ACL loses its function to control knee joint rotation and restraint, the knee joint will become unstable. The swelling of the knee joint is a defensive action of the body so that the individual cannot resume physical activity due to restricted movement.
Ice packs should be placed on the knee area upon acquiring the injury for twenty minutes every two hours to minimize swelling and bleeding inside the joint.
During the initial phases of ACL knee injury, medical doctors may find it difficult to diagnose the area and cold compression has to continue until swelling subsides. An MRI or arthroscope will be used to assess the laxity of the joint.
View Reusable ice packs for ACL Knee Injuries
Rehabilitation usually includes a knee brace which improves the strength and stability of the joint. It can be used even during physical activities.
ACL reconstruction knee surgery is indicated for individuals who did not present much improvement from the knee brace or need to return to football quickly. The surgery restores knee function fully by taking a patella tendon strip from the patient to replace the ACL. Modern techniques have made it possible for individuals to resume sports activity within six months.
Running in a swimming pool and using a buoyancy aid, are ideal methods of maintaining fitness while the ligament is healing
Click here to view buoyancy jackets for water therapy
The extent and risk of injury is dependent on the size of the ACL. The smaller the ACL, the bigger the chance of acquiring injury and the larger the extent of the damage.
Proprioception training (balance training) which makes use of a wobble board and taking a break from physical activities when fatigued greatly prevents ACL knee injury incidences.
View the Wobble Board
Football Rescue Recommends Knee Supports
Excellent medial and lateral support ideal for footballers. This wrap around design knee brace is suitable for cases of knee instability due to knee ligament injuries.
How does it work?
This high quality knee brace is lightweight and comfortable, with lock-stitch taped seams and fully trimmed edges for durability. The flexible spiral stays and dual criss-cross elastic straps create firm medial and lateral knee support which reproduce the effect of a tape job to support the medial collateral ligament (MCL) and lateral collateral ligament (LCL) of the knee.
The upper and lower Velcro fasteners act as ‘anchors’ and knee stabilisers to maintain maximum support. This provides support without compromising mobility and may be more suitable for those engaged in activities that would be overly compromised by a hinged support.
When can I use it?
*Extremely effective in relieving knee pain by taking the stress off knee ligaments that may be injured. *Perfect for injuries to the Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) or Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL).
*Also provides knee pain relief and knee support following a Cartilage injury or when there is mild Arthritis in the knee.
*Ideal knee brace when you require good knee support but maintain full movement.
Excellent medial and lateral support ideal for footballers. Multi-tiered, plush-lined elastic body with wraparound design.
The Knee sport strap is designed to simulate knee joint strapping techniques used to support the collateral knee ligaments and restrict joint rotation but still enable running