Five common football injuries(2)-The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury

Dec 21, 2018



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Five common football injuries(2)

2. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is a soft tissue that connects the femur and tibia to provide the stability control of the knee joint during walking, running and jumping. During the game, footballers often have acceleration in change of direction, landing and knee contact with opponents. The knee will be easily twisted or hyperextended by these movements. When knee joint is excessively twisted, the ACL will be overstretched and even ruptured.
The signs of ACL rupture include swelling and redness. The joint has laxity and cannot be flexed and extended smoothly.
Ligament reconstruction surgery is needed after getting ACL torn. After surgery, physiotherapy such as electrotherapy, ultrasound and manual therapy are important to promote soft tissue healing.
Besides, the trainings of strength and flexibility of thigh muscles are crucial during the rehabilitation.

1-2 weeks post-op: Performing isometric contraction training of the quadriceps and the hamstrings like straight leg raise and bridging is good to prevent muscle loss. In addition, players should perform quadriceps and hamstrings stretching in pain-free range to prevent joint stiffness.

2-6 weeks post-op: Players can progress to dynamic strengthening exercise such as wall squat and semi-lunge. Also, stability training like single leg stand is recommended to regain proprioception ability.

6-12 weeks post-op: Jumping and landing exercises like single leg hopping and lunge alternate jumping are good to build up plyometrics ability.

12 weeks post-op: SAQ (speed, agility and quickness) training such as sprinting, shuttle run are recommended for preparing return to play.

Stretching of Hamstring muscle

Lunge squat exercise

Stretching of Quadriceps muscle

Balance and coordination training of knee joint

Post by Shan Lam