Let’s Talk ACL Injuries

The ACL injury is tearing or spraining the anterior cruciate ligament. This is one of the major ligaments of your knee. ACL injuries are one of the most common injuries that we see in our practice.

 ACL injuries mostly occur during sports that involve sudden stops or changes in direction as well as jumping and landing. ACL injuries are usually sustained without contact, and occur when these sharp sudden movements when landing from a jump, when pivoting or cutting are performed. Sports like;

  • Football 
  • Netball
  • Basketball
  • Gymnastics
  • Downhill skiing 

Risk factors that increase your risk of an ACL injury:

  • Being female – due to the difference in anatomy, muscle strength and hormonal influences
  • Participating in certain sports like soccer, football, basketball, gymnastics and downhill skiing
  • Poor conditioning before physical activity 
  • Wearing footwear that doesn’t fit properly or support your feet, especially during physical activity 
  • Using poorly maintained sports equipment, such as ski bindings that aren’t adjusted properly 
  • Playing on artificial turf surfaces

When an ACL injury does occur, many people hear or feel a ‘pop’ sensation in the knee. The knee may quickly swell, feel unstable and be too painful to bear weight.

Some common signs and symptoms of ACL injuries are:

  • Severe pain and inability to continue activity
  • Rapid swelling
  • Loss of range of motion
  • A loud pop or a popping sensation in the knee
  • Instability or feeling of your knee giving way 

Once the diagnosis has been identified, it is time for treatment. Efficient treatment and care can reduce pain and swelling immediately after an injury.

  1. Rest – general rest is key to healing your knee and limiting weight bearing on your knee 
  2. Ice – ice your knee at least every two hours for twenty minutes at a time 
  3. Compression – strap your knee with an elastic or compression bandage 
  4. Elevation – have your leg elevated, try lying down with your knee propped up on cushions. 

Is surgery the best option?

There are several routes an ACL sufferer can take in regards to treatment of their injury. Your doctor may recommend surgery if:

  • You’re an athlete and want to continue in your sport, especially if the sport involves jumping, cutting or pivoting. 
  • More than one ligament or the meniscus in your knee is also injured.
  • The injury is causing your knee to buckle during everyday activities.

Once you undergo surgery, ACL rehabilitation is key to a more successful recovery. It is recommended that almost immediately after your ACL surgery, that you begin a customised rehabilitation plan with a physiotherapist.

With ongoing guidance from an experienced, quality physiotherapist, your chances of a successful recovery are much greater! 

At Progressive, our highly experienced team of physiotherapists have rehabilitated many athletes successfully after undergoing ACL surgery. Rehabilitation generally focuses on gaining and restoring the knee’s full motion as well as strength, endurance, balance and agility. 

Progressive Sports & Spinal Physiotherapy would love to help you on your road to recovery. For more information about our customised rehabilitation programs, please feel free to contact the practice today by calling (02) 4721 7798 or by emailing info@progressiverehab.com.au.

Suzanne graduated from Western Sydney University with a Bachelor of Health Science (Sports and Exercise Science) in 2015. She then went on to continue her studies at Macquarie University graduating from the Doctor of Physiotherapy post-graduate degree in June 2019.

Since graduating, Suzanne has worked in the local Penrith area in both private practice and Sports Physiotherapy. Suzanne has worked with sporting teams including Penrith District Netball Association, Mt Druitt Rangers (NPL), Penrith Valley Figure Skating Club, and local dance and cheer schools. 

Suzanne has a particular interest in working with artistic athletes including cheerleaders and dancers. She has a professional background in both cheer and dance and has previously worked as both a cheer coach and dance teacher. Suzanne’s previous experiences are an invaluable resource to her as a physiotherapist, as she has a thorough understanding of the level of physical fitness and skill acquisition that these athletes must have in order to be successful on stage and in competition.

Suzanne’s other areas of clinical interest reside in lower limb musculoskeletal injuries, spinal pathologies and women’s health.

Nathanial graduated as a physiotherapist in 2012 which saw him work in private practice and hospital settings gaining experience in all areas of physiotherapy including hand therapy, splinting/casting, pre/post-operative care, Men’s Health and general musculoskeletal, occupational and sports physiotherapy. Since then he has gone on to complete further studies in physiotherapy enabling him to be the only dual titled Musculoskeletal, Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist in Penrith.

Nathanial has a strong background in sports physiotherapy achieving accreditation with NSWIS as a service provider and working with many elite sports teams.

Nathanial has a particular interest in working with elite athletes, complex cases and in particular assessment and management of knee, hip and shoulder pain.

Andrea graduated from the Australian Catholic University completing her Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science in 2018 and Master’s of Clinical Exercise Physiology in 2020. After graduating she attained accreditation with ESSA as an Exercise Physiologist.

During her studies she gained clinical experience in both hospital and private practice settings, working in the cardiac rehabilitation program, heart failure service and mental health unit at Nepean Hospital. And at the ACU Exercise and Lifestyle Clinic working with clients with neurological conditions, cancer and chronic musculoskeletal injuries.

Since graduating, Andrea enjoys working with a variety of clients. She has a particular interest in treating musculoskeletal injuries and neurological conditions, striving to help people increase their functional capacity to get them back to work, sport or the things they love doing.