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Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injury

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tear or sprain is one of the most common knee injuries. It often affects athletes who play demanding sports such as football, soccer or basketball and occurs as a result of sudden change in direction or pivoting of the knee. Find out more about the causes, symptoms and treatments for ACL injuries. Plus, find a range of supports and braces and products to assist with alleviating knee pain caused by Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injuries.

Anatomy of the knee

Anatomy of the knee joint
There are 3 main bones that form the knee joint, which consists of the thighbone (femur), shinbone (tibia) and the patella. The bones are connected to each other by the 4 main ligaments in the knee, Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL), Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL), Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and the Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL). The ACL is a thick band of connective tissue that connects the femur to the tibia. Along with the Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL), the ACL helps to stabilise the knee by forming an X on the inside of the knee joint to prevent the knee sliding back and forth.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury Causes

The most common cause of a sprained or torn ACL usually occurs during a sport or fitness activity. Generally the ligament will stretch or tear when you turn or pivot your knee after it has locked into placed. This injury affects many athletes who play football, basketball, soccer and gymnastics.
An ACL injury often results in damage occurring to other areas of the knee, such as the articular cartilage, meniscus or other ligaments.

Common Causes of ACL injuries:
  • Rotation or flexion (knee bend) injury
  • Direct trauma or excessive stresses from landing from a jump incorrectly or rapid deceleration
  • Suddenly stopping or slowing down whilst running
  • Direct contact or collision from a football tackle or car accident
  • Overextending the knee joint
Check out your risk of suffering an ACL: Australia's ACL injury risk profile infographic


Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury Symptoms

  • The patient may experience sudden pain or hear a 'pop'
  • Pain and swelling within 24 hours
  • Onset of swelling is rapid and is the result of hemarthrosis (blood in the joint)
  • The knee may give way at the time of injury and/or have a recurrent 'giving way' problem after the injury
  • After the initial trauma and associated pain. the athlete can often walk off the field even if it is a complete rupture
  • The active and passive ranges of motion may be limited
  • Tenderness in the joint
  • Discomfort or pain when walking

Treatment for Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries

Treatment for a torn or sprained ACL will vary depending on the severity of the injury and the patient’s needs. In most cases, a torn ACL will require surgery in order to heal, however older patients that have a low activity level may be able to use non-surgical treatments.
Please consult with your medical professional for a complete diagnosis of your knee pain and tailored knee pain treatment plan.

Recommended Thermoskin Products:

Under the direction of your medical professional and in conjunction with your advised treatment plan, either of the following Thermoskin supports or braces are recommended.

  • Knee Brace with Flexion/Extension ROM hinge – offers a flexible application with durable polycentric hinges that provide flexion and extension range of motion stops at selected degrees. Provides exception medial and lateral stability to the knee
  • Knee Brace with ROM Hinge – is designed with high quality removable hinges for flexible unilateral bracing. Choose from single pivot hinge, dual pivot hinge or range of motion.
  • Open Knee Brace with ROM Hinge - is designed with high quality removable hinges for flexible unilateral bracing. Choose from single pivot hinge, dual pivot hinge or range of motion.
  • Open Knee Brace with Flexion/Extension ROM Hinge – open wrap design provides greater adjustability and ease of application with durable polycentric hinges that provide flexion and extension range of motion stops at selected degrees. Exceptional medial and lateral stability
  • Knee Stabiliser – contains internal metal stays and various Velcro locking straps to provide knee stability. Useful for pain secondary to degenerative disease, and medial/lateral instability
  • Knee Derotation Brace – designed to control knee rotation instability, with medial and lateral stays. Uses anterior restraining straps and Velcro locking straps to negate any knee rotation
  • Cooper Knee Alignment Sleeve – designed to enhance knee alignment, proprioception and muscle control while performing sport and exercise.