Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tears are one of the most serious injuries that a footballer may have to deal with. In general, when this type of injury occurs, players are forced to miss at least 6 to 9 months, sometimes even longer. In recent years, there have been medical advances in the treatment of ACL tears. However, depending on the severity of the injury sustained, it can still force players to have to retire. In this post, you can read about the causes of anterior cruciate ligament tears, how they are treated and what you can do to reduce the risk of picking up this type of injury.

How anterior cruciate ligament tears occur

Next to the ankle, the knee is a commonly injured joint in football players. Direct (being tackled or blow) or indirect (pivoting, twisting) impact to the knee may affect the ligaments (particularly the anterior cruciate ligament), tendons or cartilage.

The anterior cruciate ligament is one of the major stabilising ligaments in the knee joint. It prevents excessive movements of the lower leg against the thigh. 70% of all anterior cruciate ligament tears happen without contact with another player. Due to nature of mechanisms in football,  ACL tears may occur as a result of one-step stop deceleration, sudden change of direction, landing from a jump with the knee and hip at extension, or a lapse in concentration.

Signs and symptoms

The usual signs and symptoms of anterior cruciate ligament tears are:

  • A popping or snapping sound in the knee at time of injury.
  • Pain, swelling and the inability to completely straighten the knee.
  • The inability to place weight on the knee, feeling loose or unstable.

Diagnosis and treatment

You should seek an opinion from an orthopaedic knee surgeon to guide the management of this injury. If you tear your anterior cruciate ligament, you may miss six to nine months of play as a result of the injury. In about two-thirds of all complete anterior cruciate ligament tears, there is also damage to other structures of the knee.

Complete anterior cruciate ligament tears frequently lead to long-term problems. This may include instability and an early onset of arthrosis of the knee. This is normally found in elderly people as a consequence of ageing.

Preventing anterior cruciate ligament tears

The “FIFA 11+” dynamic warm up teaches you how to perform the moves related to injury in a way that decreases your risk of an anterior cruciate ligament and any other knee injury. For more information, visit the FIFA 11+ website

Sports injuries at the Putney Clinic

If you are recovering from an ACL Tear or any other footballing injury, why not make an appointment with our team of experts at our Sports Injury Clinic. Appointments can be made by calling us on 020 8789 3881.