Dr. Rachel: ACL Injuries

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - It's football season, and with that comes many injuries. Dr. Rachel looks at one of the more common ailments that affect athletes.

This week Dr. Rachel told us about one of the most common and devastating football injuries: an ACL or anterior cruciate ligament injury.  Dr. Rachel says that the ACL is one of four major ligaments in the knee that helps to keep it stable.  A ligament is a band of fibrous tissue that attaches one bone to another. This is often confused with a tendon, which attaches a muscle to a bone. The ACL is a "stretchy band" located in the middle of the knee joint.

The ACL is the smallest of the four ligaments but serves the most important function, stabilizing the knee to prevent it from sliding out of place.  Players can hurt their ACL when they plant their foot, and twist their knee or when their foot is planted and then they get hit from the side.

Most ACL injuries are complete tears and partial tears are rare. Due to the lack of blood supply in the knee, a complete ACL tear does not heal on its own and surgery is usually required to replace the ligament. Although, ACL injuries used to be a career-ending injury,  great surgical techniques, and rehab programs have players coming back to the game better than before.
Dr. Rachel says, "If your player goes down with an ACL injury, chances are he will be out for the season but may come better than ever the next season."