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Common Causes of an ACL Injury

An anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear or strain is a common sports injury. However, you can tear your ACL without playing sports. There are 100,000-200,000 ACL ruptures in the US every year.

Ligaments connect bone to bone. The knee has four primary ligaments, but the ACL is the one that is most commonly injured. Your ligaments help stabilize your knee, so a tear or strain of one of them can make it difficult for you to get around. 

The expert orthopaedic surgeons at Texas Orthopaedic Associates have extensive experience diagnosing and treating all types of knee injuries. Here they share the most common causes of ACL injuries.

Being female

Although being a woman doesn't cause an ACL injury, women are at higher risk of experiencing one than men. In fact, studies show that women athletes are at 2-10 times more likely to injure their ACL than men. The reason for this higher risk is a combination of anatomy, biology, and biomechanics.

Playing certain sports

Sports that involve pivoting, jumping, cutting, and stopping increase your risk of ACL injuries. These sports include soccer, football, basketball, gymnastics, and downhill skiing. While females have a higher rate of ACL injuries, and women don't generally play football, football is the sport with the highest ACL injury rates.

Poor conditioning

Playing sports is a great way to stay in shape and socialize. However, it's not a good idea to go from zero to 60 when it comes to working out and getting competitive. It's essential to start slow and build up to working hard when you start playing in a rec league or taking up a sport for fun and fitness. Working out hard when your body is not in shape can increase your risk of all types of injuries, including ACL tears or strains.

Improper footwear

It's important to wear sneakers or other types of footwear, such as cleats, that fit properly and are comfortable. Wearing worn-out sneakers or improper footwear can result in strain on your joints and ligaments as well as falling or tripping.

Trauma to the knee

Another common cause of ACL injuries is getting hit in the knee, especially if your knee is overextended. This can result from a tackle, collision, or any kind of trauma on or off the field or court. 

Treatment options for ACL injuries depend on the severity of the damage and the patient's activity level. An athlete with a torn ACL will most likely require surgery to reduce pain and mobility issues and restore stability. For older, inactive people with ACL injuries, noninvasive treatments such as physical therapy and wearing a brace may do the trick.

If you've injured your knee or want advice on preventing ACL injuries and other knee issues, call Texas Orthopaedic Associates. We have five offices located throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, and you can also make an appointment online through this website.

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