ABC Medical Center > Digital magazine > Knee ligament injury in athletes

Knee ligament injury in athletes

4 October 2019

Autor: Dr. Diego Pérez-Salazar Marina

Specialty: Orthopedics, Surgery, and Sports Traumatology

ABC Services. Orthopedics

The ACL or anterior cruciate ligament injury is the most common type of contusion in athletes and people who perform constant physical activity.

The knee is a joint made up of three bones: femur, tibia, and patella. Its stability is mainly constituted by ligaments that keep the bones in the proper position. The four most important are: collateral ligaments (medial and lateral) and cruciate ligaments (anterior and posterior).

About one in 3,000 people suffers a cruciate ligament tearing. This type of injury is usually more frequent in patients who practice sports such as football, baseball, basketball, and alpine skiing, in whom up to 78% of incidents occur.

For this reason, ACL is considered a global health problem. However, an isolated injury of this type is rare and, instead, other common injuries associated with the menisci or cartilage occur, which determine the prognosis of the knee joint.


  • Injury mechanism when flexing the knee (normally when practicing sports):
    • Jump and support when landing on one foot
    • Sudden stop when running
    • Direct trauma with the foot fixed on the ground
  • Cracking sensation inside the knee
  • Joint effusion (knee swelling)
  • Support limitation (limp)
  • Feeling of insecurity or instability

Its diagnosis is based on an adequate physical examination by a specialist, x-rays, and simple MRI. Considering this, we must never forget that the treatment is specific to each case and depends on factors such as expectation, discipline, and sports demands, as well as age, associated injuries, type of tear, etc.

If you suspect an ACL injury, the first thing you should do is stop playing sports, apply ice to the knee (20 minutes every hour for the first 24 hours), apply an elastic bandage, and use crutches if you cannot tolerate putting your foot down.

At ABC Medical Center’s Orthopedics and Traumatology Center, we can provide you with specialized care. Contact us!


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