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What exactly is the ACL and how can you injure it?

The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is in the middle of your knee and helps to stabilise the knee during changes in direction, twisting and in jumping and landing manoeuvres. Complete ruptures have a significant impact on a footballer’s ability to continue in sports or physical activity. You may frequently hear about ACL injuries occurring in rugby league, soccer, AFL, basketball, skiing and other sports that involve rapid acceleration and changes of direction.

In our Practice we have observed that ACL tears can occur when contact occurs. However, roughly 66% of ACL tears are reported to occur when an athlete is landing from a jump, cutting, pivoting, accelerating or decelerating when there is no contact at all.

An ACL injury prevention program should include:

  • Quality technique correction (particularly during cutting, landing and sport-specific agility movements)

The most well-known ACL injury prevention program is the PEP program.

PEP Program: (Prevent injury, Enhance Performance) was developed by the Santa Monica Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Research Foundation.

Preventing injuries is an important goal for all. However, when you’re moving fast and playing hard, it’s inevitable that some sports injuries will occur. Since an ACL injury tends to be one of the more devastating injuries in football, it makes sense to develop a training regimen that puts you in the strongest position possible to prevent one in the first place.

Attention to form and detail are crucial for successful implementation of injury prevention. This means players must work on skills that put his/her body in the best possible alignment until those positions and movements become second nature.

Our physiotherapists can provide assessment and training in ACL injury prevention programs.

Please note: this information should serve as a guide only. When in doubt always seek advice from Southside Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Centre or your GP.

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