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ACL injuries and what to do

ACL Problems – the quickest way back to your sport.

ACL issues are common in many athletes, professional or keen amateur – sudden twisting, over extension, falls, a bad landing or sudden stops . . . these can all cause ligament injuries.

And only 1 in 3 patients return to their sport. That seems to me a worryingly LOW number.

What is the ACL?

A ligament is the fibrous connective tissue that joins bones together in a joint.

The ACL is the anterior cruciate ligament and connects the thigh bone to the shin bone in the knee. It is one of 4 key sets of ligaments in the knee, the others are:

  • The posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) is the second set of ligaments connecting the thigh bone to the shin bone.
  • The lateral collateral ligament (LCL) connects the thigh bone to the fibula, the smaller bone on the outside of the lower leg.
  • The medial collateral ligament (MCL) also connects the thigh bone to the shin bone on the inside of the knee.

Should I have surgery?

The honest answer is – it doesn’t matter.

The most recent research on recovery rates shows no difference between those patients who opted for surgery and those who chose to just do physiotherapy and rehabilitation.

I double checked these results as I had always been taught that for severe tears the best route was surgery (combined with physio obviously!). Nope, regardless of severity there was no difference.

So what does make a difference?

Speed – getting a quick, accurate diagnosis so that you start work as quickly as possible and do no further damage.

Ligaments are typically slow to heal. They need lots of support while they are doing it as they don’t have a great blood supply so this means it takes time for the “good stuff” to get in. I’ve found that using MRT and Dr D K Shelbourne’s Accelerated Rehabilitation programme can reduce recovery time to weeks as opposed to the usual months.

Support the knee correctly so that you place the least strain on the ligaments while they are healing. This also prevents future injuries.

So if you have had an ACL injury book your appointment for an assessment asap!

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