The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the most important ligaments for stability of the knee. It is commonly injured when force is applied to the back of the leg during contact sports. If the ligament is torn then surgery is often required especially in athletes. The surgery involves reconstruction of the ACL with either an allograft or an autograft. After surgery physical therapy is usually required in order to regain range of motion, strength as well as improve pain and disability.
In the non-athletic population, a person can function with an incompetent ACL, but physical therapy may be warranted to reduce joint swelling, increase strength, and improve range of motion following an injury.
ACL injuries are one of numerous injuries acquired by athletes. Mensicus tears, ankle sprains, rotator cuff impingements and wrist fractures are other commonly seen athletic injuries in physical therapy clinics.
The treatment is contingent on the prior level of function, stage of healing, pain level and specific diagnosis.