Understanding and Preventing ACL Knee Injuries

Specialist Knee Surgeon Warrington

While there is always a specialist knee surgeon Warrington, it’s important to take proactive steps in preventing ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) injuries in order to continue leading a healthy and active lifestyle. Major knee injuries are well-known for ending the careers of great athletes, with ACL sprains or tears being the most notorious.

Below, our specialist knee surgeon Warrington has outlined the basic ACL injuries along with a few strategies and strengthening exercises to keep your knees healthy and happy.

What is the ACL and Where is it?

The ACL is one of four primary ligaments in your knee that act like connective ropes to hold bones together and keep your knee stable. There are two collateral ligaments, however we’re not concerned with them when looking at ACL injuries.

There are also two cruciate ligaments found in the knee joint. These cross and create an “X”, where the posterior cruciate ligament is behind and the anterior cruciate ligament front-facing. All together, these four key ligaments ensure that your knees are able to bend, move and brace properly at any point.

Understanding Different ACL Injuries

There are three different grades of sprains which determine the severity of injury to the ligament. A grade 3 sprain (also known as a complete tear of the ACL) is the most common, with grade 2 sprains (partial tears) rarely occurring.

Grade 1 Sprain – There is mild damage to the ligament from being slightly stretched, however it is still able to keep the knee joint stable.

Grade 2 Sprain – The ligament has been stretched and has become loose. Grade 2 sprains are also known as partial tears of the ACL.

Grade 3 Sprain – This sprain is a complete tear of the ligament in two pieces and signifies that the knee joint is very unstable.

Common Causes of ACL Injuries

Unfortunately, ACL injuries can be very easy to cause. This is because of the vulnerability of the knee joint when moving rapidly, changing directions or landing heavily from a jump. Many ACL injuries occur with no physical content with other people or objects, and it is the athlete’s own changes of direction which most often result in damage to the ligament.

Specialist Knee Surgeon Warrington Injury Prevention

Keep in mind that the majority of ACL injuries are accompanied by other damage or injuries to other parts of the knee. This means that before you attempt to do any kind of rehabilitation it is important you visit a specialist knee surgeon for an understanding of the extent of your injury.

As for prevention, it’s important to exercise the hamstrings (back of the leg) as many people at risk for ACL injuries are quadricep dominant. Exercises like parallel box squats and box jumps are important in strengthening the hamstrings and glutes while reinforcing stability when landing and taking off from jumps.

Understanding ACL injuries is the first step to preventing them, so if you have any other questions or would like other information don’t be afraid to contact your specialist knee surgeon Warrington, My Knee Doc.