How Do ACL Injuries Occur?

Renowned San Francisco orthopedic surgeon, Dr. James Chen, sheds light on the various ways ACL injuries occur beyond just contact sports. From athletic activities to sudden impacts and overextending joints, Dr. Chen emphasizes the importance of seeking expert care promptly for effective treatment and recovery.

Downhill skiing on a snowy mountain with blue skies in the background skiing is a risk factor for ACL tear in knee

Athletic Activities

Athletic activities are the most common cause of ACL injuries. An anterior cruciate ligament injury refers to the overstretching of the ACL in your knee. It can be a complete tear or a partial tear.

There are many ways that athletic activities can cause this type of injury, and it can occur in contact and non-contact sports.

San Francisco knee doctor James Chen, MD, often sees it as a result of pivoting or cutting maneuvers, like when you plant your foot and suddenly shift in another direction.

ACL injuries can also occur from stopping suddenly when running or landing on one leg when jumping in basketball or volleyball.

You can also injure your ACL if your knee gets hit directly, especially if it is bent slightly inward or is extended further than normal at the time of impact. Repeated stress can also cause an ACL injury because it can cause the ligament to lose elasticity.

An ACL injury may also occur if you twist or bend your knee backward.

Sudden Impacts

A sudden direct impact on the knee is another common cause of an ACL injury. Sudden impacts can occur during various physical activities and while playing sports, especially contact sports. But sudden impacts to the knee can also happen if you trip and fall or if you are involved in a car accident.

The worst of these injuries occur when your knee is over-extended or bent inward.

ACL tears from sudden impacts often occur together with other injuries to the knee tissues, including other ligaments and cartilage.

Overextending a Joint

Hyperextension happens when you force your knee joint to extend beyond its natural range of motion. This puts a lot of stress on one of the four major ligaments, including the ACL. This type of overextension can happen to anyone, but it is more common in athletes who play games like:

  • Lacrosse

  • Soccer

  • Football

Skiing can also cause ACL injuries because it can cause your knee joint to suddenly move out of position.

Overextending the joint can cause other soft tissue damage and swelling, along with ACL tears.

Unexpected impacts to the front of the knee are another concern. This causes the knee joint to move backward beyond what it can normally handle, leading to a partial or full tear.

Overextension occurs on a spectrum, with mild injuries causing the affected knee to lose some of its stability, giving you the sensation that it could buckle at any moment.

More severe injuries can make it impossible to move the knee, resulting in severe pain and swelling.

Don’t Delay Treatment After an ACL Injury — Seek Expert Care from a Top Orthopedic Surgeon in San Francisco

If you have symptoms of an ACL injury, including swelling, pain, and immobility in your knee, the best thing to do is to turn to a San Francisco orthopedic doctor like James Chen, MD.

Dr. Chen offers ACL reconstruction and repair surgeries using the most advanced arthroscopic techniques to offer the quality care you need. He is fellowship-trained and board-certified, making him a leading expert in ACL injuries. By relying on minimally invasive treatment options, including autograft and allograft procedures, Dr. Chen can help you without making large incisions.

An experienced doctor like Dr. Chen can provide many orthopedic treatments, including fracture care and complete joint replacement. His patient testimonials attest to his care and quality of service. He offers personalized treatment plans and patient-centered care to help you get the answers you need when dealing with an injury.

Get the help you need for your ACL injury. Contact Dr. James Chen in San Francisco, CA, today.

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