ACL stands for "Anterior Cruciate Ligament." It is the tissue that connects the thighbone to the shinbone at the knee. It is also one of the most common ligaments in the body to get injured and is particularly common among athletes in football, basketball, soccer and even tennis. The tearing of the ACL affects the ligaments ability to keep the knee stable as the ACL is also the ligament that joins the femur and the tibia. ACL is one of the four main ligaments found in the knee. The other three ligaments found in the knee include the medial collateral, lateral collateral and posterior cruciate.
Approximately 200,000 ACL injuries take place annually. When a patient suffers from ACL injury they often have swelling on the knee and feel unstable alongside with a sharp pain. When looked at the cause of this injury we find out that almost 70 percent of ACL injuries are through non-contact mechanisms and the rest are caused by coming in contact with someone or an object. When looked at closely we see that the injury is associated with sudden and rapid deceleration, twisting, cutting or through side stepping movements. Due to the difference in muscular anatomy and conditioning of males and females, females are more likely suffer from ACL injuries. .
When the patient suffering from an ACL injury goes for examination the Physician usually performs an X-ray to see any sign of fracture on the knee as it is a high possibility when getting an ACL injury. Other examination may include an MRI, this is to evaluate the ACL and to also check if any injury is sustained by the other knee ligaments. A physical test may also be performed; one such includes the pivot shift test in which the knee is first straightened to make sure the tibia starts forward and then will shift back into the appropriate position in relation to the femur as the knee is bent again at about 30 degrees. When a patient suffers from a ACL injury they usually suffer from a combination of injury, as damage is also done to the meniscus articular cartilage or other secondary damage to nearby ligaments.