How does a Physio clinically diagnose an ACL injury?

 In Lower Limb


Hello guys, Bruno from POGO Physio here, today we’re quickly talking about ACL injuries.  The ACL is your main ligament of the knee so it lies behind the knee cap inside your knee and it is one of the main ligaments that add stability to your knee.  Quite commonly guys playing rugby, skiing, soccer players will have an injury of the ACL.

And sometimes injury most of them will require surgery but we can diagnose that in the clinic fairly simply we just want quick test so we take someone’s history and listen to their whole mechanism and that’s part of our whole reasoning but a clinical test to actually diagnose that is the Lachman test.  A physio or physician would then place this patient’s leg in a position of about thirty degrees of flexion and what we want to do to test the translation between the tibia or the shin bone in relation to the femur because the ACL should stop that interior movement of the shin in relation to the femur. So we can feel that with our hands and so can the patient.  So when the ACL is present when we get into that position and we pull the shin upwards towards me whilst I’m maintaining pressure, downward pressure on the femur I’ll feel a little clunk which the patient can also feel.  That means the ACL is intact.

If I get into this position and I’ll set up and I’ll give that pull and I can’t feel that solid end of the fill of that ACL, that makes me suspect an ACL injury is present and that’s when we then going to refer for an MRI to confirm the diagnosis and start planning rehab and referring to and orthopaedic specialist if necessary.  So simple test, takes about 30 seconds and we can sort this out for you. So if you think you have and ACL injury we are the man on the job.

Talk to you guys later.  Bye

Bruno Rebello (APAM)


Bruno Rebello

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