An Overview of Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries

injured runnerAthletes live for the sport. But sometimes, that love for the game can take them to a place they never thought they would be. Injuries can happen to anyone, but if you play a rugged sport like football, basketball, or baseball, you have a higher likelihood of getting hurt.

Here's an overview of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, one of the common injuries among athletes:

ACL Sprain

An ACL injury is common among people who play sports that involve leaping, running, pivoting, and other movements that may put a severe strain on the knees. An ACL injury or sprain may vary in severity.

  • Grade 1 Sprain: There is mild damage to the ligament, usually a slight stretch, but it is still capable of helping the other ligaments stabilize the knee.
  • Grade 2 Sprain: The ligament has been stretched to a point where it has become loose. With this injury, the ligament suffers a partial tear.
  • Grade 3 Sprain: The worst ACL injuries result in a complete tear of the ligament, which means it has been split in two and can no longer function to keep the knee stable.

Most ACL sprains result in a near complete or complete tear of the anterior cruciate ligament. Immediate treatment is necessary to alleviate pain and help the patient recover faster.

ACL Sprain Causes

There are different possible causes behind a sprained or torn ACL, but these are some of the most common:

  • A rapid change in direction, such as when a basketball player pivots or does a “crossover” move to elude a defender. A defender who tries to change direction to keep up with the offensive player may also suffer the injury.
  • Sudden start-stop movement, such as when a tennis player runs at full speed and stops to volley a shot. You may also get injured when slowing down while running.
  • Getting tackled in football, or any form of collision or contact.
  • Wrong landing when jumping

Medical science has improved rapidly in addressing injuries, such as a torn ACL, much to the benefit of athletes. In many cases, surgery results in a full recovery. Knee stem cell therapy has been known to provide recovery, as well.

In all cases of ACL injury treatment, full recovery is only possible if combined with proper physical therapy and medication. The patients' physical conditioning and mindset may also have an effect on how well they are able to recover normal use and function of the injured knee.