How ACL Injuries Occur

There has been a substantial increase in ACL injuries in recent years. An increase in fitness and competitive sports has strongly corollated to the rise in ACL tears. There are a number of ways an individual can injure their ACL. How ACL injuries occur continues to be researched by the sports medicine community. The majority of ACL knee injuries are the result of low-velocity, noncontact movements, with a rotational component. Contact sports such as football and wrestling can also lead to an ACL injury along with injuring the ligament secondary to twisting, valgus stress, or knee hyperextension.

Below, we have broken down the most common ACL injuries:

ACL Injuries in Sports

Participation in sports is the most common cause of ACL knee injuries. Specifically, ACL sports injuries occur during twisting, cutting, or pivoting moves. The sports involving these movements the most are snow skiing, soccer, basketball, football, volleyball, and tennis. In these types of sports the foot is often planted with the knee bent, and a sudden change in direction stresses the ligament. An example of this is the fast, sharp cuts that soccer players, or a football player make.

Snow skiers are particularly susceptible to ACL injuries due to the nature of strains placed on the joint. These forces include balancing the legs during movement, making a solid landing during a jump, rotating the body during turns, and higher forces such as skiing over moguls or downhill speed racing. ACL knee injuries in snow skiers can affect professional skiers, all the way down to the recreational novice skier.

In addition to the sudden movements experienced in these types of activities, contact sports, as well as direct hits to the knee, also put the ACL at risk for injury. Direct blows to the kneecap can force certain structures within the joint to move forwards or backward, resulting in injury. An ACL knee injury can also result from a severe hyperextension of the knee joint.

Treatment

Treatment options for athletes will depend on their preoperative activity level, and if they wish to continue at that level post-surgery. Patients at a Level 1 or Level 2 are those that partake in jumping, hard cutting, pivoting, fast running, or side-to-side sports; we recommend a Level 1 and 2 to to get an ACL reconstructive surgery.

For more information on how ACL injuries occur, please request a consultation with orthopedic knee specialist, Dr. Lubowitz, by clicking the link below.