I’ve hurt my knee.. Is it an ACL?
Updated: Dec 18, 2020
ACL… the three letters that every athlete dreads.
ACL is the short name for the Anterior Cruciate Ligament, a ligament that helps keep the knee stable.
Unfortunately for 4% of athletes, ACL injuries do occur. However, that does mean that 96% of athletes don’t suffer an ACL injury.
Now, to explain how the scenario of a knee injury currently proceeds I will use the example of Jill the netballer. Sorry ladies, but you are up to 10 times more likely to suffer an ACL injury.
Jill was playing netball on Saturday and as she went to stop and turn she felt something ‘click’, ‘pop’ or ‘give way’ in and around her knee. Jill falls to the court and has to be helped from the playing area. Because it’s a Saturday and A&E is as busy as ever Jill goes home and Rests, Ices, Compresses and Elevates her knee. Great stuff Jill!!! Jill is using the RICER principle. That second R that Jill hasn’t gotten to yet.. Referral. Referral means Jill should seek the advice of a physio for precise diagnosis, ongoing care and treatment.
That means Monday morning Jill will be seeing a physio within 48 hours of the injury, what a superstar.
To accurately diagnose a knee injury it is important to remember exactly how the injury occurred (if the knee was bent, if the foot was on the ground, what direction the knee went). If your physio can gather information about how the injury occurred and what you’ve felt since, they can have a fairly good idea what the injury is before they even have to touch you.
Jill has arrived at her appointment on Monday and is assessed and given her provisional diagnosis. Jill should then be given a clear pathway back to playing netball no matter how major or minor her injury actually is. Jill’s physio was able to gather an accurate story of her injury and then completed a variety of physical ‘special tests’ during the session to confidently reach a diagnosis with Jill. Luckily for Jill she has only mildly sprained her ACL and has been provided with a clear treatment and management plan. Part of this plan would have included some exercises to complete at home and a really clear explanation of the likely steps to getting Jill back out on the court when she is ready. So, If you or someone you know unfortunately experiences some sort of sporting injury. Just take these simple steps:
1. Seek the advice of a health professional who is knowledgeable about musculoskeletal injuries and the best way to return to sport and other aspects of life
2. Don’t try and ‘tough it out’. The injury will only get worse and possibly keep you out of the sport you love longer
3. Stay active and mobile if pain allows. Do not let the injury become ‘stiff, stuck and sore’
If you're having trouble with a new or existing injury, make sure to contact us on (03) 5872 2221 and we'll be happy make a time where one of our friendly physios can discuss what you can do to get on top of the injury to get you back performing at your best ASAP.
Yours in health,