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What we’ll cover
  1. What causes an ACL injury?
  2. What are the symptoms of an ACL injury?
  3. How is an ACL injury diagnosed?
  4. Treatment for an ACL injury?
  5. How do I prevent an ACL injury?

The role of physiotherapy for ACL injuries

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the most critical ligaments designed to provide stability around the knee.  With the middle of winter sporting codes and ski season, injury or rupture to the ACL is one of the most debilitating conditions of the knee.  

ACL Injuries

What causes an ACL injury?

ACL injuries commonly occur during “non-contact” with research showing that approximately 80% of ACL injuries occur without direct contact or trauma from another player or opposition.  The most common mechanism of an ACL injury occurs during either a changing direction (pivot) or landing from a jump.

What are the symptoms of an ACL injury?

Injury of the ACL can usually be isolated to a specific event or mechanism.  People commonly report a “pop” and giving way of their knee.  Acute pain at the time of injury and swelling  following the incident can be common.  Whilst symptoms of pain and swelling usually settle quickly, episodes of instability of “giving way” may become more prominent following the incident.

How is an ACL injury diagnosed?

Your physiotherapist will perform a number of clinical tests on the integrity of the knee joint.  These tests will not only assess the ACL but also a range of other ligaments that provide stability to the knee.  These tests place stress on the ligaments and look for any excessive laxity indicating rupture or injury the ligaments.

Diagnostic imaging such as an MRI can also be used to detect for a ligament injury.  It may also identify any other sites of injury including the bone or the meniscus.  Your physiotherapist is able to refer for ongoing diagnostic imaging if required or may liaise closely with your doctor.  X-rays provide very little use when identifying an ACL injury.

Treatment for an ACL injury?

Acute pain and swelling usually start to subside within several days or weeks following injury.  However, episodes of instability or buckling of the knee may start to occur.  Surgery for ACL injuries is carefully considered depending on a range of factors.  Factors that need to be considered prior to surgical management include:

  • Do you regularly perform sports  or activities which require changing of direction?
  • Age
  • Regularity and episodes of instability of giving way.
  • Future plans and aspirations surrounding physical activity that may involve changing of direction.

Your health professional is well placed to discuss these options with you.  If you do not regularly perform sports involving changing of direction and the knee is stable, you may not require surgery.

Malvern East Physiotherapy is well placed to assist you with either conservative or post-operative rehabilitation following ACL surgery.  Our physiotherapists have worked with a number of surgeons in providing rehabilitation following knee reconstruction.  Your rehabilitation following knee reconstruction aims to restore full range of motion, strength, power and endurance.  In addition, your physiotherapists will also ensure you regain balance, proprioception and agility prior to discussing a return to sport.

How do I prevent an ACL injury?

Recent research has identified that improving your agility and neuromuscular control can reduce the likelihood of injuries.  Factors that influence this include your proprioception (ability to sense the position of the joint), muscular strength and flexibility.

Specific exercises focused primarily on improving the quality of movement around changing direction and landing.  These exercises commonly target muscle groups including the quadriceps, gluteals, hamstrings and core.  It is important to focus on improving not only strength, but also endurance to ensure that these muscle groups work efficiently in a fatigued state.  Your physiotherapist is an expert in guiding you through a comprehensive preventative program to reduce the likelihood of ACL injuries.

Once mastered, these exercises are often encouraged to be performed as part of any training program or warm up routine.

If you have experienced an ACL injury, undergoing rehabilitation or would like to reduce the likelihood of injury, call us today on 9571 6888 or book online.


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Last week our team celebrated another great year. 

Whilst Melbourne’s weather had its own plans, we were still determined to keep with the theme of ‘Italian Summer’. We let our hair down to master the art of mixology 🍸🍹followed by an Italian feast. Friday morning Run Club with the team. Practicing what we preach!

Staying stronger, healthier and happier. This time last week, our team was nervously completing their final preparations for @melbmara . 

Congratulations to our physiotherapists and ME community who ran on the day.

Dilen and Michael completed their first marathons. Abbey and Lizzie smashed out their first half. Last Sunday, our team headed down to see our own Matt Warren win a premiership in the VAFA Premier Men’s Competition. Last week our team dedicated a full day to professional development and team building. At ME Physio we pride ourselves on collaboration to put you at the centre of everything we do. 

Our team covered the latest treatments for back pain, financial well-being and finished off the day with salsa dancing. 

Many thanks to our guests including James Schomburgk from @the2ndvisitphysio , Financial Planners Tony Vikram & Cameron Bishop and the @salsafoundation At ME Physio, our focus is on helping you get stronger so that you can keep doing the things you love.

For Tony and Joan, healthier and stronger is being able to navigate the iconic Coast to Coast Walk in the UK! We recently had the pleasure of hosting Elise Bujor from Women’s & Men’s Health Physiotherapy to discuss women’s health issues across the lifespan. 

Our team pride themselves on staying up to date to ensure you’re able to stay healthier, happier and stronger. Huge milestones over the past few weeks with both Tom and Jude from @delasallefc doing their first bit of running in their rehab. 

Tom is on the return from an ankle dislocation whilst Jude is putting in the hard work following a knee reconstruction. Last week our team enjoyed some friendly rivalry at the footy. 

With finals around the corner, some of our team can now safely make holidays plans for September. We recently had the pleasure of hosting the podiatry team from @sespodiatry. 

Our physiotherapists Michael and Abbey presented on rehabilitation following Achilles surgical repair and ankle surgery. Last weekend some of our team got together to complete the 10 km run @runmelbourne. There was no finish line picture as some were keen to run another 15 km!

Whilst running wasn’t for some - brunch was well received by everyone. Shoulder impingement can be incredibly frustrating and painful. 

Tony has been working closely with our physiotherapists Vernon and Dilen to get on top of his shoulder pain. His treatment plan has included hands-on physiotherapy and individualised exercises in our hydrotherapy and strength programs.

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