Anterior Cruciate Ligament

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Anterior Cruciate Ligament

With an ever increasing number of people becoming involved with athletic activities, there is an increasing number of injuries occurring which can be devastating for the individual. Most of the injuries that affect athletes occur in one of four structures in the human body: bones, muscles, tendons, or ligaments. Because ligaments attach bone to bone and play a major part in providing stability for joints, the major stabilizing ligament in the knee, the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), assists in performing everyday actions of the human body including sitting, standing, walking, running, dancing, and participating in other sports. The injury that specifically affects this ligament is very serious and always provides a challenge for the health care provider, in most cases the orthopedic doctor, who is responsible for the correction of the problem. By understanding how to diagnose one of the most common sports injuries, an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear, realizing the causes, and providing the proper treatment, an orthopedic doctor can help a patient minimize his or her risk of experiencing long-term problems that may be associated with this injury.

In order for an orthopedic doctor to diagnose an ACL injury, he or she must first be knowledgeable about the ligament's location and function. The anterior cruciate ligament is located directly in the center of the knee along with another critical ligament known as the posterior cruciate ligament.

The two ligaments cross each other to form an “X” behind the kneecap to provide the most support for the knee joint, where most of a person's body weight is concentrated. Although the ACL, which connects the thighbone (femur) to the shinbone (tib...

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