Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tear

ACL Injury Physiotherapy Toronto

Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tear

ACL Injury Physiotherapy TorontoAnterior Cruciate Ligament Tear

One of the most common knee injuries to the knee ligments, particularly as a result of sports, is an anterior cruciate ligament tear aka ACL tear. Individuals who are involved in sports that involve running, jumping, or quick pivoting movements such as soccer, tennis, volleyball, basketball are more susceptible to damage of their anterior cruciate ligaments.

What are anterior cruciate ligaments?

The knee is made up of three bones: the knee cap, the thigh bone, and the shin bone.  The thigh bone and the shin bone are connected by four ligaments, which work together to firmly hold them together and keep the knee joint stable. These ligaments include collateral ligaments that are located on the inside (medial) and outside (lateral) of the knee and cruciate ligaments that are placed inside the knee joint. The cruciate ligaments (the anterior ligament and the posterior ligament) cross each other and form an X.  The anterior ligament runs diagonally in the middle of the knee and prevents the shinbone from sliding out in front of the femur. It also prevents hyperextension of the knee and provides rotational stability.

What is an anterior cruciate ligament tear?

ACL tears mostly occur along with other knee injuries such as damage to the meniscus or articular cartilage.

Generally, ACL injuries are categorized into three groups:

Group 1: the ligament id slightly stretched, but is still able to keep the stability of the knee joint.

Group 2: there is a partial tear of the ligament and the ligament becomes loose.

Group 3: there is a complete tear of the ligament and the knee joint is unstable.

Causes of anterior cruciate ligament tears

ACL tears can be caused by several factors, but mostly occurs during sports and fitness activities. The causes include:

  • Stopping abruptly
  • Jumping
  • Sudden direction change
  • Sudden slowing down while running
  • Pivoting with a firmly planted foot
  • Direct collision such as a football tackle
  • Incorrect landing from a jump
  • Hip-Knee Quadraceps Angle aka the ‘Q’ angle
  • Deep depth of lateral femoral notch where ACL passes through
  • Menstral cycle phase

Symptoms of anterior cruciate ligament tearsPhysiotherapy Anterior Cruciate Ligament ACL Tear

Symptoms include:

  • Popping sound when the ligament injury occurs
  • Pain
  • Tenderness along the joint line
  • Knee swelling
  • Loss of full range of motion
  • Feeling discomfort while walking
  • A feeling of instability with weight bearing

Treatment of anterior cruciate ligament tear

First-aid care

Protect, rest, ice, compression, and elevation to reduce pain and swelling, as well as to provide a full range of motion, and to decrease joint effusion.

Medical treatments

  • Surgical: ligament rebuilding

Notice: Post-operative ACL rehabilitation is one of the most crucial stages of ACL reconstruction.


After ACL tear, Physiotherapy management focuses on regaining range of movement, strengthening of the quadriceps and hamstrings, proprioception, and stability:

  • Custom Knee Brace: to stabilize the knee
  • Crutches: to avoid putting weight on the knee
  • Taping
  • Exercises: static quads/SLR, ankle DF/PF/circumduction, patellar mobilizations, glute med work in side lying, knee flexion/extension in sitting, glute exercises in prone, knee flexion in prone, weight transfers in standing
  • Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation

The Physiotherapists at Ace Physio can help you rehab following an anterior cruciate ligament tear. Ace Physio is a highly respected Physiotherapy clinic in downtown Toronto.  Call Ace Physio Clinic today at 416-900-6653 to book your appointment.



About the Author

Brad SaltzBrad is a Registered Physiotherapist at Ace Physio, a highly respected Physiotherapy clinic in downtown Toronto. Ace Physio provides high quality one on one Physiotherapy that combined state-of-art technology such as; Shockwave Therapy, Laser Therapy, and Spinal Decompression with traditional Physiotherapy.View all posts by Brad Saltz