Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries

Anterior cruciate ligament injuries are quite common knee injuries in people who practise sports. They are most often found in sports involving body rotation (football, basketball, netball, handball, gymnastics or downhill skiing). They may vary from light (small tears/sprains) to heavy (when the ligament is completely torn).

Injuries may be contact- or non-contact-induced, although non-contact tears are most common when the limb doesn’t touch anything and is combined with valgus trauma and an internal rotation trauma.

ACL injuries seem to be more common in women and between 2.4 and 9.7 times more common in athletes taking part in these activities. Strong ACL tears are quite common – up to 84/100,000 in the US and 78/100,000 in Sweden and the average age of patients is 32.

Three main ACL injury types:

  • Direct contact: 30% of cases.
  • Indirect contact.
  • Non-contact: 70% of cases: caused by sharp or improper movements.

ACL injuries are common among young people who play sports which involve rotation, delay and jumping.

Physiotherapy identifies the main cause of the problem and helps in selecting the right treatment methods. The treatment used depends largely on issues identified during your first consultation.