Dr. Geier also talks about who is most likely to sustain an ACL injury.
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ACL is ligament in the center of the knee that’s responsible for stabilizing the knee. It runs for across from the thigh bone to the shinbone and it prevents the tibia, the shinbone from sliding forward under the femur or rotating. And without an ACL, you’re knee is by definition, unstable and is prone to give way with certain activities. They’re fairly common. There’s about 100,000 a year that occur nationwide or about 100,000 reconstructions. So it’s a fairly common injury nationwide. It’s typically or either your contact sports or sports where you land from a jump or a lot of cutting pivoting sports of football, soccer, basketball, that type of thing. You can get it from non-sport things but again it’s typically traumatic. It’s typically like a fall from a jump or something like that. Working in your backyard, again, you’d trip over something. I’ve had patients that have tripped over their dog or something like that and done it. But it’s pretty uncommon. I mean, it requires a fairly significant injury. And again, the other thing you have to remember is that it’s typically an injury of younger people. You know, people 14 to 30 or 40 or so. It’s an active population, usually athletes or athletic people. When it happens, I mean you typically know it. You either feel or hear a really loud pop and it swells up right away. Not just a little swelling, I mean, your knee gets really, really swollen right away. It gets stiff because it’s so swollen and you’re really hurt. The problem with an ACL, yes, it hurts initially but you give it time, you get the swelling down, most of the pain goes away. The problem with a torn ACL is this feeling that your knee buckles when you go to plant and you turn side to side cutting type activities. So, you know somebody that isn’t an athlete but all they do is walk straight forward type of things, joggers, runner, that kind of thing may do fine without an ACL because that’s not where your ACL really functions. But if they do a lot of cutting side to side, they’re going to have eventually have their knee give way. That’s why in your lead athletes, football players, soccer players, basketball players, you know that do a lot of landing from jumps to cutting side to side. They can’t function without an ACL because their knee is going to start giving way. The problem with your knee giving way is that every time your knee buckles like that, you can do more damage to it. You can damage the cartilage on the ends of the bones; damage the meniscus, that kind of thing. So young person especially young active person or lead athlete, you almost always reconstruct it.