ACL injuries are relatively common in the sporting world, and you may have heard the acronym banded about.  Someone may have told you that team member has an ACL injury and you have shaken your head and offered sympathy but not really known exactly what has happened.  Here is a quick guide to ACL injuries for anyone not quite sure what they are dealing with.



What is an ACL?


In the human body, ACL refers to the anterior cruciate ligament.  This is found within a knee and is one of the most significant and most essential ligaments there.  Injuring this area can be extremely painful.



Who is Prone to ACL Injury?


To be fair ACL injury can occur in anyone for a variety of reasons. However, it is more common in the sporting world.  Footballers, those who play basketball, tennis players, skiers, gymnasts and those who play volleyball are all likely to come across this type of injury.  This is because it is caused by things like suddenly jumping, or stopping or changing direction etc., which is something all these athletes do as part of the sport.  Footballers are perhaps the most prone as they skid and one leg often gets pushed far out which is an unnatural position.



What Happens to the ACL?


The first thing that suggests you have an ACL injury is you will feel a popping sensation from within the knee, and this may even be accompanied by an audible popping noise.  From that point on you will experience intense pain that will usually force you to stop whatever you are doing.  The knee will no longer feel stable, and you might feel as if it will give way if you try and stand on it.  The joint will no longer move well and is classed as a lost range of motion.  It is likely that the knee will also begin to swell within a few hours.  These are all signals from the body to stop using the limb, and you would be well advised to listen to it.



Is it Serious?


Potentially some ACL injuries do require surgery to repair the torn ligament.  Sometimes the tear is not as bad, and the damage can be recovered with a combination of physic exercises and rest.  Making sure that you follow a proper training regime and always warm up and cool down properly can help to reduce the risk of it happening but does remain a risk for sports that have a sudden change of moment or direction.  If you think that you have torn or damaged your ACL joint, and specifically have any of the symptoms listed above you should always get an appointment to see a medical professional immediately.  For injuries requiring surgery, for example, you do not want to be using the knee and potentially making things worse.  It is much better to get yourself checked and discover you haven’t torn it than try and wait it out to find you have made matters worse.  Prompt care also speeds up recovery time and how well you do recover so always seek help quickly.