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  • Writer's pictureDhanashree Chatim


Mechanism of Injury

Ligament injuries occur most frequently in individuals between 20 and 40 years of age. The ACL is the most commonly injured ligament. ACL injuries can occur for both contact and non contact mechanisms.

The most common mechanism is a blow to the lateral side of the knee resulting in a valgus force to the knee. This mechanism can result in injury not only to the ACL but also the MCL ( medial collateral ligament ) and medial meniscus. This injury is termed the unholy triad or "terrible triad".

The most common non contact mechanism is a rotational mechanism in which the tibia is externally rotated on the planted foot. This mechanism accounts for as many as 78% of all ACL injuries.

The 2nd most common non contact mechanism is forceful hyperextension of the knee.


A patients pre injury activity level and the post injury level to which he/she are expected to return influence the success of a non operative treatment program. Relatively sedentary individuals can usually function with some loss of knee stability and can expect to return to pre injury activities following a course of non operative management which includes physiotherapy, bracing and functional training.

For atheles who wish to return to high demand activities following Acl injury, an intensive rehabilitation program, including balance/perturbation training to stimulate neuromuscular control and develop dynamic knee stability, has been shown to be effective.

In contrast for patients with extensive ligament damage or concomitant injuries (such as meniscus damage) and poor dynamic knee stability after a period of non operative treatment, surgical reconstruction typically is recommended to return to high-level work or sports and a preinjury level of function.

Please note: This is not medical advice. If you are suffering from an injury or muscle pain. Please visit your local physiotherapist.

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