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Damaging your ACL – not just a football injury

18 September 2017 Blog
Orthopaedics
Orthopaedic Surgeon Professor Piers Yates explains when injury to the ACL can occur.

What is the ACL?

There are two cruciate ligaments in the middle of the knee joint that give stability between the femur (thigh bone) and tibia (shin bone) when the knee is in motion, especially during twisting activities.

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is the most commonly injured, especially in sports where twisting and changing direction is common, such as AFL and soccer.

When does injury to the ACL occur?

This most often occurs when your knee is bent and is twisted suddenly or unexpectedly, or when it becomes “over-straightened”.

When this occurs, there may be an audible “pop”. Blood will leak into the knee and this will cause immediate swelling.

What can you do if you hurt your ACL?

A ruptured ACL cannot regenerate. The injury is often diagnosed by examining the knee, and confirmed with an MRI scan.

There are options to improve the knee stability after ACL rupture, and return to excellent function.

  1. It is possible to strengthen the surrounding muscles with exercise. This may help you regain the stability once provided by the ACL.
  2. Often, surgery may be required to reconstruct the ligament using a hamstring or patella tendon taken from your own knee.

Read more about your options or speak with your GP to discuss the best option for you.

Any surgical procedure carries risks. Make sure you discuss all possible risks with an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
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Piers Yates - Orthopaedic Surgeon

Prof Piers Yates is an orthopaedic surgeon at St John of God Murdoch Hospital. He has been practicing in WA as a specialist orthopaedic and trauma surgeon from 2006 with a particular interest in joint replacement and trauma.