ACL Tears in Women’s Sport
ACL tears are a common injury in sport, for both men and women, but with the increasing popularity in female competitive sports, we’re seeing a lot more ACL tears occurring on the field for female athletes.
What is the ACL?
The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) is a ligament within the knee that connects the thigh bone (femur) to the shin bone (tibia). It’s job is to support the knee and prevent the femur from sliding forward on the tibia. It is one of many ligaments that support the knee, including the Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL), the Medial Colateral Ligament (MCL), the Lateral Colateral Ligament (LCL) and the meniscus all act to support the structure of the knee.
How does the ACL get torn?
The ACL can be injured in a number of ways, some including
- during a collision in contact sport
- during a hyperextension
- falling directly onto a bent knee
- pivoting to change direction
Why are ACL injuries common in female athletes?
ACL injuries can occur in both males and females, but in females the risk of an ACL tear is higher due to the wider angle at the hip known as the Q angle. The increase in this angle puts more stress on the ligaments of the knee particularly when changing direction.
What can you do after an ACL tear?
In some instances, for active people or athletes, knee reconstruction surgery may be recommended where the ACL ligament is replaced by tendon from either the hamstring or the patella tendon. Return to play following surgery usually takes 12 months.
In other instances, for example amateur athletes, weekend warriors or general population, a conservative approach of exercise rehab has been shown to be very effective. This process usually takes 12-18 months.
Our team of Osteopaths and Physiotherapists at Alpha Sports Medicine have assisted athletes through their exercise rehabilitation from both a post operative and conservative approach. Our rehab gym facility in Newport, Melbourne is well equipped to help athletes return to full function.