Anatomy and Function of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament
The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) is one of four ligaments that hold the three bones of the knee together. The ligaments keep the joint stabilized and help prevent damage minimizing movements that could cause injury. The ACL is positioned diagonally across the knee. The position of the ACL prevents the tibia from moving in front of the femur and ensures stability during rotation.
How The ACL Gets Damaged
This type of knee injury is often associated with sports. While football players like Joe Namath and Jerry Rice are some of the worst affected, almost anyone can tear their ACL. Tiger Woods tore his ACL taking part in a very normal and popular athletic routine, jogging. If the knee is moved in an unnatural way, backwards or side to side for example, there is a potential for tearing of the ACL. A common way for the ACL to get torn is when the foot is planted and then the direction of movement is suddenly changed. Of course taking part in athletics is a common way to injure the ACL, but there are many other ways non-athletes can sustain knee injuries. For example, falling on the stairs or jumping over a low fence are two potential movements that can lead to a torn or injured ACL.