Most Common Ways to Tear Your Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL)?

Learn how you can tear your ACL & tips to help prevent this type of injury

3 min read

If you are a sports fan, you often hear a lot of players out for the season due to a torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL). However, you don’t have to be an athlete to tear your ACL, in fact, some of the most common ways to tear your ACL is doing simple activities.

What is an ACL & how do you know it is torn?

Your anterior cruciate ligament is a strong band of tissues connecting the femur to the tibia, it helps stabilize the knee. (Mayo Clinic). If you are doing a lot of start and sudden stop activities you may hear a loud pop in the knee followed by intense pain and swelling. One of the other major symptoms is instability or your knee buckling along with a loss of range of motion.

How can you tear your ACL?

There are several ways to tear your ACL but some of the most common activities are soccer, improper knee position when doing an exercise like a squat, downhill skiing, football, basketball, landing wrong or awkwardly, or a direct collision. Females are also more prone to ACL tears due to muscle strength, hormonal influences, and the way their anatomy, specifically the shape from the hip to the knee. Additionally, if you are wearing improper footwear it can make you more susceptible to an ACL injury.

Ways to help prevent an ACL injury.

Strength training and conditioning is a great way to help decrease your chances of having an ACL injury. Working with a professional trainer or physical therapist can help, especially focusing on core, hip, hamstring strength along with balance exercises. Proper form when exercising is essential to keeping your ACL intact. If you are doing any physical activity, wearing proper footwear is important and can help protect your ACL. If you downhill ski, it is important to have your bindings adjusted by a professional to reduce the risk of an ACL injury during skiing.

What to do if you think you may have an ACL tear.

If you hear a popping or experience instability after one of the above activities, please immediately seek an evaluation from a medical professional. Most of the time, the medical professional will check your range of motion as well as the amount of swelling and pain. One of the best ways to determine if an ACL is torn is through a knee MRI. Imaging Centers like ImageLink offer these types of MRI to help you determine your prognosis.

After your assessment and MRI, your doctor will recommend the best treatment plan which can include physical therapy and/or surgery. Stay on top of your knee health and get the right tests when you feel a problem arise.

Source: Mayo Clinic