What’s an ACL?

It didn’t take long before someone asked the obvious question, which I maybe should have anticipated from the beginning. What is an ACL?

ACL stands for anterior cruciate ligament. Here’s a diagram :

acl

As you can see it joins the upper leg to the lower leg, crossing through the inside of the knee joint. This tendon is incredibly important for the overall stability of the knee, as it prevents the lower leg from twisting  and shifting forwards of the lower leg.

What can tear them?
In my case, I landed with my foot planted but the rest of my body continued to rotate. This twisting ruptured the ACL. This is a common injury in football, rugby and american football players who cut and change direction very rapidly.

What does it feel like?
Mine hurt like hell. I heard a loud pop, my knee became swollen immediately and felt unstable. These are all classic signs of a ruptured ACL

Further down the line, the general instability continued. I couldn’t run, as the instability would aggravate my knee causing it to swell up. I would also notice it particularly when walking over rough or uneven ground, when it would feel like my leg momentarily gave way before catching itself again.

Tune in next week for ‘How do you fix an ACL?’

Liam

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