ACL 101

Since we just completed another football season, we’ve heard our share of “ACL injuries” from announcers on just about every game. Sprains or tears of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) are quite common in football, soccer, and basketball. For the player to continue to play the sport, it’s likely they will need surgery from Dr. Dini to get back in the game.

AWHAT IS THE ACL?

First a little anatomy of the human knee. Three bones form the knee joint: the thighbone (femur), shinbone (tibia), and kneecap (patella). The kneecap provides protection to the front of the knee.

Those bones are connected by ligaments, and in the knee, there are four primary ligaments. The cruciate ligaments are on the inside of the knee joint. The anterior cruciate ligament is in the front, and the posterior cruciate is in the back. Together they form an “X” and control the back and forth motion of the knee.

The collateral ligaments are on the sides of the knee. The medial collateral ligament is on the inside, and the lateral collateral ligament is on the outside. Their job is to control sideways motion of the knee, limiting it.

ACL INJURIES

About one of every two ACL injuries also involve damage to surrounding structures such as the cartilage, the meniscus, or other ligaments. When you injure a ligament, it is deemed a “sprain” and is graded on the severity of the injury.

WHY DO ATHLETES GET ACL INJURIES?

Force applied in the wrong direction is usually behind most ACL injuries. Look at this list of typical causes, and you’ll understand why Dr. Dini sees so many football and soccer players.

Do you think you’ve injured your ACL? Call Dr. Dini at his Los Angeles office (323) 525-0101 or his Encino office (818) 784-1020 to have your knee checked out.

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