Understanding ACL Injuries Expert Insights and Advice

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is a crucial stabilizer within the knee joint. A torn ACL is a common sports injury, often occurring during sudden stops, jumps, or pivoting movements. The most well-known symptom of a torn ACL is a feeling of the knee “giving way” or buckling. However, experiencing this sensation doesn’t always indicate a torn ACL.

While a true ACL tear involves the bones in the knee shifting out of place, a feeling of instability can also stem from quadriceps weakness. The quadriceps are the muscles on the front of the thigh responsible for knee extension.

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Weakness in these muscles can occur after ACL surgery as part of the recovery process, but it can also happen independently.

If you’ve experienced a knee giving way, it’s important to consult with an orthopaedic surgeon to determine the underlying cause. They can perform a physical examination and potentially imaging tests like an MRI to diagnose the issue.

An orthopaedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine is well-equipped to assess your situation. They can differentiate between a recurrent ACL tear, quadriceps weakness, or another potential cause of your knee instability.

Following an ACL injury and surgery, regaining quadriceps strength is a critical part of rehabilitation. Physical therapists play a key role in this process, guiding patients through targeted exercises to strengthen the muscles and restore proper knee function.

If your knee giving way is a result of quadriceps weakness, a personalized physical therapy program can significantly improve stability and prevent future problems.

Remember, experiencing knee instability doesn’t automatically translate to a torn ACL. Consulting with an orthopaedic surgeon can provide clarity and ensure you receive the proper treatment, whether it’s targeted exercises to strengthen your quads or addressing a more serious underlying issue.


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