An anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) sprain or tear is known as one of the most common knee injuries frequently seen in athletes, although a torn ACL could result from everyday activities as well. High demand sports, such as soccer, football, and basketball, where rapid pivoting and turning are most frequent, can most often result in injury to the ligaments of the knee.
Anterior Cruciate Ligament Anatomy
There are four major ligaments found in the knee. The medial collateral ligament and the lateral collateral ligament, which are found on the sides of the knee, function by controlling the side-by-side motion and bracing the knee against abnormal movements. The posterior cruciate ligament and the anterior cruciate ligament, which are found inside, on the front and back of the knee joint, function by controlling the back-and-forth motion and providing stability to the knee while rotating.
An ACL injury can result in various ways but the great majority are non-contact related injuries. Incorrectly landing from a jump or stopping abruptly from a run are distinct causes for a torn ligament. Quickly changing direction may also result in injury. Occasionally, collision or direct contact, as in a football tackle, can also cause an anterior cruciate ligament tear. Studies have shown that female athletes have a higher rate of experiencing ACL injury than male athletes in different sports. It’s believed that this is due to physical condition variation including a contrast in muscle strength or due to the differed pelvis and lower extremity alignment, among others.
By Dr. Alex Jimenez