ACL Injury? You’re Not Alone
If you tore your ACL, you’re not alone. ACL injuries are common for males and females, young and middle aged, professional or recreational athletes in just about every sport.
HOW MANY ACL INJURIES OCCUR EVERY YEAR IN THE USA?
It’s estimated that approximately 200,000 ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injuries occur in the United States every year. This number is likely an underestimate, as many ACL injuries go untreated or unreported. The incidence of ACL injuries is highest in athletes, particularly those who participate in high-impact sports such as basketball, soccer, and football. However, ACL injuries can also occur as a result of everyday activities, such as stepping off a curb or turning quickly while carrying a heavy object.
WHICH SPORT HAS THE HIGHEST NUMBER OF ACL TEARS?
ACL tears are most commonly associated with high-impact sports that involve sudden changes in direction, jumping, and landing. Some of the sports with the highest incidence of ACL tears include:
- Soccer: With its quick turns, jumps, and stops, soccer players are at high risk for ACL injuries.
- Basketball: The explosive jumping and landing motions associated with basketball put a great deal of stress on the knee, increasing the risk of ACL tears.
- Football: Football players are at risk for ACL injuries due to the nature of the sport, which often involves direct contact and collisions.
- Gymnastics: The high-flying and high-impact nature of gymnastics increases the risk of ACL tears, as does the repetition of certain movements, such as landing from a dismount.
- Alpine skiing: The repetitive twisting and impact associated with skiing can put a lot of stress on the knee and increase the risk of ACL tears.
It’s important to note that while these sports are associated with a higher incidence of ACL injuries, any sport or physical activity that involves sudden changes in direction or impact can put an individual at risk for an ACL tear.
WHAT AGE GROUP TEARS THEIR ACL THE MOST?
ACL injuries can occur at any age, but they are most common in young athletes between the ages of 15 and 25. This age group is particularly susceptible to ACL tears due to the high levels of physical activity and athletic involvement that are common in this demographic. Additionally, the bones, muscles, and ligaments of the knee are still developing in this age group, which can increase the risk of injury.
It’s also worth noting that while ACL tears are more common in young athletes, the incidence of ACL injuries is increasing in older adults as well. This may be due in part to the increased levels of physical activity and sports participation in this demographic, as well as the effects of aging on the knee.
Regardless of age, individuals who participate in high-impact sports or engage in other activities that put a lot of stress on the knee are at a higher risk for ACL tears. Taking steps to strengthen the muscles and ligaments around the knee, as well as being mindful of proper form during physical activity, can help reduce the risk of ACL injury.
WHO SUFFERS MORE ACL TEARS: MEN OR WOMEN?
Women are more likely to suffer ACL tears than men. This is due to a combination of factors, including differences in anatomy and biomechanics. The female knee is generally more relaxed and has a wider angle than the male knee, which can increase the risk of ACL injury. Women also tend to have a greater Q-angle, which is the angle between the thigh bone and the shin bone, which can increase the stress on the ACL during activities such as jumping and cutting. Additionally, hormonal differences between men and women can affect the stability of the knee joint and increase the risk of injury.
Studies have shown that female athletes are up to eight times more likely to suffer an ACL tear than male athletes, particularly in sports that involve jumping, cutting, and pivoting, such as basketball, soccer, and gymnastics.
It’s important to note that while women are at a higher risk for ACL tears, men are not immune to this injury. Both women and men can reduce their risk of ACL injury by taking steps to improve their strength, flexibility, and form during physical activity, and by using proper protective gear when participating in high-impact sports.
RANK ACL INJURIES BY SPORT FOR FEMALES
ACL injuries are a common concern in female athletes, particularly in high-impact sports. Here is a ranking of sports by the incidence of ACL injuries in female athletes:
- Soccer: Female soccer players have a high risk of ACL injury due to the nature of the sport, which involves rapid changes of direction, twisting, and jumping.
- Basketball: Basketball is another sport that puts a lot of stress on the knee, and female basketball players have a high risk of ACL injury as a result.
- Gymnastics: The dynamic nature of gymnastics puts female gymnasts at a high risk for ACL injuries, as well as other knee injuries.
- Volleyball: Volleyball is another sport that involves a lot of jumping and landing, which can increase the risk of ACL injury in female athletes.
- Softball/Baseball: Softball and baseball players may be at a lower risk of ACL injury compared to other high-impact sports, but they are still at risk, particularly during sliding and running activities.
RANK ACL INJURIES BY SPORT FOR MALES
ACL injuries are a concern in male athletes, particularly in high-impact sports. Here is a ranking of sports by the incidence of ACL injuries in male athletes:
- Football: Football players are at a high risk of ACL injury due to the physical demands of the sport, which often involve direct contact and collisions.
- Basketball: Basketball players are at a high risk of ACL injury due to the explosive jumping and landing motions associated with the sport.
- Soccer: Male soccer players are at a high risk of ACL injury due to the rapid changes of direction, twisting, and jumping involved in the sport.
- Lacrosse: Lacrosse players are at a high risk of ACL injury due to the nature of the sport, which involves a lot of cutting, pivoting, and running.
- Hockey: Hockey players are at a lower risk of ACL injury compared to other high-impact sports, but they are still at risk, particularly during body checking and other physical contact.
It’s important to note that while these are the sports with the highest incidence of ACL injuries in female and male athletes, any sport or physical activity that involves rapid changes of direction, twisting, or impact can put an individual at risk for an ACL tear. To reduce the risk of ACL injury, both female and male athletes should focus on strengthening their legs, hips, and core, as well as proper form and technique during physical activity.
DO YOU HEAR A NOISE WHEN YOU TEAR YOUR ACL?
Yes, some people report hearing a “popping” or “snapping” sound when they tear their ACL. This sound is the result of the ACL tearing or rupturing, which can cause significant pain and instability in the knee joint.
In addition to hearing a noise, people who have torn their ACL may experience a variety of other symptoms, including pain, swelling, difficulty walking or bearing weight, and instability or a “giving way” sensation in the knee. If you suspect that you have torn your ACL, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible, as an ACL tear can lead to long-term instability in the knee and may require surgical intervention to repair.
It’s also worth noting that not everyone who tears their ACL will hear a noise. Some people may experience a sudden pain or instability in the knee without hearing any sound, while others may hear a noise but experience only mild discomfort or no symptoms at all. If you have any concerns about an injury to your ACL, it’s best to seek medical attention for a proper evaluation.
HOW CAN I TELL IF I TORE OR SPRAINED MY ACL?
If you suspect that you have torn or sprained your ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. An ACL injury can cause significant pain and instability in the knee, and if left untreated, can lead to long-term problems.
Here are some common signs and symptoms of an ACL tear or sprain:
- Pain: You may experience a sudden, sharp pain in the knee, especially if you hear a “popping” or “snapping” sound at the time of the injury.
- Swelling: The knee may become swollen within a few hours of the injury, which can cause stiffness and difficulty moving the joint.
- Instability: You may feel like your knee is giving out or “buckling” when you try to put weight on it.
- Loss of full range of motion: You may have difficulty straightening your knee or walking normally, as the knee may be stiff and swollen.
- A feeling of looseness in the knee: You may feel like your knee is not as stable as it used to be.
If you experience any of these symptoms an orthopedic surgeon will be able to perform a physical examination and order any necessary imaging tests, such as an MRI, to determine the extent of your injury and develop a treatment plan. Treatment for an ACL tear or sprain may include physical therapy, bracing, or in some cases, surgery.
The ACL is critical to the stability of your knee. If you have an ACL injury the good news is that treatments are very successful for returning to your preferred sport or activity at a high level. Athletic Physical therapy has successfully rehabilitated many ACL injuries using the advanced protocols as well as their proprietary ARC Progression which is proven to reduce inflammation and pain, increase flexibility and strength, and restore power and performance quickly so you can get back to the your sport 100%