Acute rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is an extremely common and serious sports injury, necessitating a prolonged period of absence from sport. The anterior cruciate ligament is one the four major ligaments offering support to the knee joint, the others being the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), the medial collateral ligament (MCL) and the lateral collateral ligament (LCL). Functionally, the ACL prevents excessive forward movement of the tibia (shin bone) relative to the femur (thigh bone).
The classic mechanism of injury to the ACL is weight bearing, with knee in semi-flexion and a rotational force added. Commonly the injury is seen where the playing surface is hard or firm. In GAA, the injury regularly occurs on landing from catching a ball or sliotar and attempting to turn quickly on landing. Rupture of the ACL is followed very quickly by immediate excruciating pain, painful giving way and rapid swelling of the knee joint. Players are unable to continue to play and describe feelings of instability in the knee. Professional ACL Injury Rehabilitation is your only option to get back to playing your sport to 100%.
Diagnosis of ACL rupture can be made quickly by the skilled clinician on examination of the athlete. MRI is often required to confirm the exact diagnosis and assess associated damage (often meniscus and/or collateral ligament injury). Once a firm diagnosis is available the athlete in conjunction with their chartered physiotherapist must decide on a management approach.
ACL Injury Rehabilitation
The major decision with respect to management of ACL injuries is whether to proceed with a surgical or conservative (physio, rest, ACL injury rehabilitation) approach.
Read more on the relative success of each in our blog post: Surgical or Non-Surgical Management of Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Rupture?