Blog #9: The ABC’s of ACL by Chris Schattinger, MS(c), CSCS, CISSN
Our previous blog post gave a very brief overview of the four ligaments of the knee. We will now begin looking at each ligament individually starting with the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). As we established the ACL joins the femur to the tibia at the anterior portion of the two bones. The ACL helps to prevent excessive forward movement and rotation of the tibia. If the ACL is compromised instability will be created in the knee due to the inability to control forward movement of the tibia. Ultimately this can cause damage to the cartilage within the knee. Without repair the chronic damage to the cartilage could lead to osteoarthritis which can then cause joint swelling, limitation of joint range of motion and even knee replacement depending on the severity of discomfort. Keep in mind that the ACL is a ligament meaning that it does not have a rich blood supply to assist in healing. Thus, surgical repair accompanied by months of rehab is the only way to heal the ACL. Because of the role of the ACL (limiting forward motion and rotation of the tibia) it is easy to understand how this injury is constantly seen in athletics. Most sports require explosive movements that create excessive forces and test the durability of the ACL. Imagine a basketball playing grabbing a rebound and landing on their heel, instead of toes, while simultaneously attempting to turn and push-off the ground to make a break for the opposing team’s basket. That’s a lot of force applied to the ACL and a lot of resistance that must be made by the ACL to prevent excessive tibia rotation and forward movement. Let us know what you think about this blog post by sending us a tweet or leaving a comment in the comments section!