Unfortunately, knee injuries are common in athletes playing high demand sports: activities like football, soccer, or basketball. They most consistently occur when athletes land a jump incorrectly, rapidly change direction, or suddenly start and stop when running.

One knee injury seen quite is a sprain or tear in the anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL.

There are three bones that meet to form your knee joint: the thighbone (femur), shinbone (tibia), and kneecap (patella), located in front of these bones for added protection. Four primary ligaments connect these bones, including two cruciate ligaments.

ACL injuries occur when damage is done to these major ligaments, but can also accompany damage to surrounding structures, like cartilage or meniscus.

If your athlete is feeling knee pain, swelling, tenderness, or inability to move the knee, they may be suffering from an ACL injury. This pain may be followed by a “popping” sound or create difficulty walking.

The best way to combat ACL injuries is to play safe, and get a physician examination, potentially paired with an X-ray or MRI scan, as soon as you think you may has an issue. Bracing and physical therapy may alleviate pain and get you back in the game; in more severe cases, reconstruction surgery may be necessary.

Take the time today to learn more about ACL and knee injuries so you can recognize the pain and get treated faster, keeping you in your game.

Contact the The Bone and Joint Center for an examination today.

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