Anterior Cruciate Ligament
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is the band of tissue that connects the thigh bone to the shin bone at the knee joint. It provides knee joint stability and helps to control the back and forth movement of the lower leg. An injury to the ACL can be severely debilitating.
A torn ACL makes the knee unstable and lose its full range of movement.
ACL tear one of the most common types of knee injuries and can be caused by:
- Changing direction suddenly
- Stopping suddenly
- Landing badly from a jump
- The outcome of a collision like a tackle in football
When the tear occurs patients often speak of hearing an audible pop or crack at the time of injury. Invariably swelling will usually develop rapidly; this is caused by an excess of blood in the knee joint due to rupturing of the blood vessels around the ACL. When the swelling has gone down examination of the knee joint will establish how severe the tear is by measuring the range of movement possible, particularly the ability to straighten the leg.
Protection of the torn ligament is vital to prevent further damage. Crutches can be used to minimise weight bearing strains on the knee joint. A hinged knee brace will limit movement in the knee and provide support to the knee joint. Full recovery may take some months.
In the long term a functional knee brace can be used to provide maximum stability to an unstable knee to allow someone to return to high impact sport such as skiing or wakeboarding. Such braces are often used, along with a rehabilitation physiotherapy programme, as an alternative to reconstructive surgery. Functional knee braces can be “off the shelf” or “custom made”. An assessment by one of our experienced clinicians will determine what your most appropriate option would be.
Protective knee braces are also a common treatment option for those who suffer from other types of knee injury, like injuries to the Posterior Cruciate ligament(PCL), the Medial Collateral ligament(MCL) and the Lateral Collateral ligament(LCL). For those who want to continue their high impact sport such braces provide the necessary protection to avoid further damage.
Cost of Knee Braces
An “off the shelf” knee brace will cost £480. A bespoke brace costs £800.