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ACL Soccer Injury

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ACL Soccer Injury - What is ACL?

ACL Soccer Injury - Introduction to ACL Knee Ligament

ACL, or Anterior Cruciate Ligament, is one of four knee ligaments holding the knee joint together.

Purpose for ACL knee ligament is to hold the knee in place, and not allow the knee to move back and forth.

Unlike MCL and LCL knee ligaments that are located on the side of the knee (inside and outside) preventing it from moving sideways, ACL and PCL are two knee ligaments that form an X inside the knee, preventing it from moving inside/outside, forward/backward.

ACL tear can range from mild stretching of the ligament, to completely tearing the ACL knee ligament, requiring surgery to fix the damage done.

It is very important to treat any type of ACL knee injury, because no treatment can lead to much worse outcome for days, months or years to come.

ACL strain or full tear can happen for various reasons, contact or non-contact.

ACL soccer injury, in most cases, will occur in non-contact situations when the knee joint is twisted or bent by the player pivoting or landing from a jump.

Being hit by another athlete may also lead to an ACL knee injury, however it is a lot more common that an athlete will cause the ACL knee injury on their own; by simply twisting or turning their knee the wrong way, causing the injury to themselves.

It is also very common that other surrounding knee ligaments will get injured at the same time that ACL knee injury occurs.

ACL Soccer Injury - Common Symptoms

  • Hearing or feeling a POP, followed by pain on the outside and the back of the knee.
  • Swelling will develop within the first few hours of the ACL knee injury.
  • Rapid swelling within minutes is usually a sign of a more serious ACL tear.
  • Knee movement will be limited because of pain and swelling.
  • Knee will feel unstable when putting weight on it, buckling or giving out.

Most important thing when feeling like there has been a knee ligament injury is to STOP playing.

STOPPING may prevent an athlete from making the injury much worse with pain and swelling showing after the body has cooled down.

ACL knee injury can be a mild strain, partial tear of the knee ligament, or a complete tear of one or more of the knee ligaments.

Strains and partial tears of the ACL are rehabilitated through time and proper rehabilitation program, while a complete tear of the ACL will require surgery.

It is hard to assess the damage of the ACL injury, so it is very important to consult a doctor for proper assessment of the injury.

Doctors will compare the injured knee to the healthy one, and decide on whether or not an X-Ray, MRI or Arthroscopy needs to be done.

Knee injuries are classified into Grade I, Grade II and Grade III injuries.

ACL Soccer Injury - GRADE I

Grade I ACL knee injuries happen when the ligament fibers are over stretched but there is no tear in the ligament.

There may be little tenderness and swelling, but the knee will still feel stable during activity.

Treatment for a mild strain of the ACL Knee Ligament will be RICE.

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compress
  • Elevate

Athlete should stay away from playing soccer or other sports for 1 - 2 weeks for proper healing of the ligament.

ACL Soccer Injury - GRADE II

Grade II ACL ligament injury occurs when the ligament fibers are partially torn. 

Tenderness and more swelling will follow with the knee showing symptoms of instability when putting weight on it.

Treatment for Grade II ACL Knee Ligament Injury will start with RICE (Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate).

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compress
  • Elevate
  • Inflammatory medication to help reduce swelling.
  • Exercises to return mobility and strength.
  • Seeing a doctor is recommended to assess full extent of the injury.
  • Treatment will last 6 - 8 weeks.

ACL Soccer Injury - GRADE III

Grade III ACL injury is diagnosed when the ligament tendons are completely torn.

There will be little tenderness that will follow with a lot or little swelling.

Surprisingly, there is no severe pain when an ACL Knee Ligament is torn.

Knee will feel unstable and the athlete will not be able to control the knee movements.

Treatment will require knee surgery, and ACL rehab afterwards.

This type of injury to the ACL Knee Ligament will keep the athlete sidelined for at least 6 months.

Doctor should be seen immediately to properly assess the damage of the ligament.

RICE (Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate) is a good way to treat the injury right away before seeing a doctor.

Use of crutches or knee immobilizer is recommended to keep the knee still after an ACL tear.

Seeing a Doctor is crucial to prevent long term history of ACL ligament injury.

After surgery, athletes will have to spend several months in rehab to bring the ACL Ligament to full strength before returning to playing sports.

Knee Treatment and Recovery

Knee treatment will depend on many factors such as how much of the ACL ligament is torn, are there any other parts of the knee injured, how active you are, health, age and how long ago the injury occurred.

Chance of ACL injury can be greatly reduced by simply stretching and warming up before any activity that requires running and sudden change of direction.

For more information on different knee injuries and rehabilitation visit Different Knee Injuries.

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