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Common Problems: Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injury

Updated: Apr 19


What is it?

An ACL injury is a tear or sprain of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) — one of the major ligaments in your knee. ACL injuries most commonly occur during sports that involve sudden stops or changes in direction, jumping and landing — such as soccer, basketball, netball and rugby.


How does it happen?

Most commonly ACL Injuries happen when the knee is twisted, this can happen when changing direction, pivoting with your foot planted, landing awkwardly from a jump or decelerating suddenly.


Symptoms that suggest an ACL injury has occurred include:

  • A loud "pop" or a "popping" sensation in the knee

  • Severe pain and inability to continue activity

  • Rapid and immediate swelling

  • Loss of range of motion

  • A feeling of instability or "giving way" with weight bearing


What you should do?

It is advised that you stop activity immediately and commence the RICE protocol for the first 72 hours following injury:

  • REST: Stop your activity and limit the amount of weight you put on the leg via the use of crutches or a fixed angle knee brace.

  • ICE: apply to the knee for 15 minutes every 2 hours

  • COMPRESSION: Applying a firm compression bandage over the knee

  • ELEVATION: Lying down with you knee resting comfortably on a pillow above the level of your heart.


You will need to visit your Physiotherapist for an assessment of the knee to determine whether the ACL ligament is still intact. Your physiotherapist will be able to fit you with crutches and/or a knee brace. If your physiotherapist is suspicious of an ACL injury, they will organise with you GP an MRI referral to confirm diagnosis. If there is an ACL rupture, you will need to book in with an orthopaedic specialist to determine whether surgical intervention is required.

Regardless of whether surgery is required, your Physiotherapist will work closely with you to reduce swelling, improve knee flexibility and restore your muscle strength and ability to perform every day activities.


🤕🤷‍♂️Need to see a Physio? Struggling with pain or Injury? 🤕🤷‍♂️

COME SEE US AT FINE FORM PHYSIOTHERAPY WE ARE OPEN AND READY TO HELP YOU. If you are in need of treatment, please do give us a call at FINE FORM PHYSIO 02 8068 6776.

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