Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries

A very common knee injury is called anterior cruciate ligament tear or sprain. Athletes are very likely to experience this condition, especially those who are involved in football, soccer, and basketball.

If you or anyone you know have suffered anterior cruciate ligament injuries, you might have to undergo surgery in order to take back a fully functioning knee. This will also rely on a lot of different factors, including how severe the injury is and the level of your activity.


There are three bones that meet in order to make up your knee joint. These are femur or your thigh bone, tibia or your shinbone, and patella or your kneecap. The patella is located just in front of the joint to give it some protection.

There are also bones that are connected to other bones and these are possible with what we call ligaments. Four main ligaments are in your knee. They serve as very sturdy ropes that support the bones and help keep them together as well as help keep your knee steady.

Collateral Ligaments

These can be located just at your knee’s sides. Inside is the medial collateral ligament while outside is the lateral collateral ligament. They manage the sideways movement of your knee and support it from atypical movement.

Cruciate Ligaments

These are located within your knee joint. They intersect to make an “x” having the anterior cruciate ligament at the front with the posterior cruciate ligament on the back. The cruciate ligaments manage the back and forth movement of the knee.

The anterior cruciate ligament is in the middle of your knee and runs across it in a diagonal manner. It keeps the tibia from slipping out in front of the femur, and it also gives the knee rotational stability.


Almost half of every injury to the anterior cruciate ligament happen in conjunction with injury to other knee structures, including the meniscus, articular cartilage, or some other ligaments.

Injured ligaments are also known as sprains and are rated using a severity scale.

Grade 1 Sprains. There is mild damage on the ligament. It has been stretched a bit, but still, it is capable of keeping the knee joint steady.

Grade 2 Sprains. The ligament has become loose. This is usually known as a partial or incomplete ligament tear.

Grade 3 Sprains. Usually known as complete or full ligament tear. The ligament has been divided and has become two pieces now, with the knee joint becoming unsteady.

Incomplete anterior cruciate ligament tears are not commonly occurring. A lot of ACL injuries are near complete or complete tears.


There are several causes for anterior cruciate ligament injuries. These include:

  • Suddenly stopping
  • Changing direction hastily
  • Slowing down even while running
  • Collision or direct contact (as in a football tackle)
  • Landing wrongly from a jump

A lot of studies reveal that a more ACL injuries occur with female athletes as opposed to male athletes in some sports. Suggestions for these include physical conditioning differences, strength of the muscles, and neuromuscular control. Several other recommended causes include pelvis and lower leg alignment differences, higher ligament looseness, and estrogen effect on ligament attributes.


When anterior cruciate ligament injuries happen, usually there is a “popping” sound and then your knee feels like it buckles and might give out under you. Several other more common symptoms are:

  • Pain and swelling. Your knee might swell within just 24 hours. If you don’t do something about it, the pain and swelling might go away on its own. But, if you try to go back to sports, your knee might be unsteady and there is risk of bringing about more damage to the meniscus or cushioning cartilage of your knee.
  • Full range of motion loss
  • Joint line tenderness
  • Discomfort/unease while walking
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Daisy Jane Antipuesto RN MN

Currently a Nursing Local Board Examination Reviewer. Subjects handled are Pediatric, Obstetric and Psychiatric Nursing. Previous work experiences include: Clinical instructor/lecturer, clinical coordinator (Level II), caregiver instructor/lecturer, NC2 examination reviewer and staff/clinic nurse. Areas of specialization: Emergency room, Orthopedic Ward and Delivery Room. Also an IELTS passer.

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