The Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is a ligament in your knee that stabilises the joint itself. It connects your thigh bone to your shine bone and is one of the most commonly injured knee ligaments.

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How does an ACL Rupture happen?

ACL tears often happen during sports that involve quick sharp movements. You will often hear a pop or large click sound. This sound is the ligament snapping. The amount of pain experienced varies between individuals with some only experiencing slight pain & others in agony. Normally all cases have large amounts of swelling around the knee which will restrict the amount of movement at the joint. You may also feel the knee is unstable & weak.

Who is at risk of an ACL Rupture?

  • Females have a higher risk of ACL injuries due to an increased Q angle. This is the angle between the hips – knee. Traditionally females have wider hips meaning a more acute angle and increased pressure on the knee.
  • People participating in football, American football, basketball and handball
  • A lack of strength training leading to weaknesses around the knee
  • People with incorrect footwear or footwear not suitable on a surface

What can I do to prevent ACL ruptures?

It is proven that the correct strength training and exercise can help to minimalize the risk of suffering an ACL injury. If you are playing sports with quick changes of directions it is recommended you complete regular strength training sessions. We would suggest you focus on:

  • Hamstring and Glute strengthening
  • Core stability exercises
  • Exercises that focus on knee stabilisation.
  • Training to improve technique when landing from jumps and changing direction quickly.

What are the treatment options if I rupture my ACL?

Normally with this severe injury surgery is required to correct the issue. The normal procedure is to take a graft from your hamstring and use this to repair the damaged ACL. Surgery has been shown to help reduce the risk of future osteoarthritis after ACL injuries.

Recent research is showing that ACL ruptures can heal naturally and the recent studies are promising. Eventually it is possible that ACL ruptures will not always require surgical action.

Normally with a complete rupture ACL injuries take 6-12 months to fully recover. The healing time for individuals will always vary.

We understand that sometimes it can be difficult to diagnose an injury without any medical training. Therefore if you are unsure or just want some piece of mind please book an appointment to see an injury specialist. They will be able to correctly diagnose the problem and inform you on the appropriate steps moving forwards.


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Covent Garden Injury Clinic: Jubilee Hall Gym, 30 The Piazza, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 8BE

Northampton Injury Clinic: St Giles Physiotherapy, 38 York Road, Northampton, NN1 5QJ

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