Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and Medial collateral ligament (MCL) injury
Ligaments are strong strands of collagen and other substances that connect bones. The two major bones – femur (thigh bone) and tibia (shin bone) – of the human knee joint are held together by four major ligaments. Two of these ligaments travel along the inside (medial collateral ligament) and outside (lateral collateral ligament) of the knee, while the other two are found deep within the joint (anterior cruciate and posterior cruciate).
Depending upon a number of factors, including age and gender, soccer players are at varying degrees of risk for sustaining an ACL or MCL injury during play. Injuries to either of these ligaments usually involve a partial or complete tear of the ligament.
Isolated MCL tears typically occur when a player’s knee is forced inward beyond its normal range of motion, often while the knee is twisting at the same time. As an example, this can happen when a cleat catches on the turf while the player is trying to change direction quickly.
ACL tears typically occur when a player lands from a jump or suddenly changes direction at high speed, generating forces beyond the intrinsic strength of the ligament.
Our partners at Boston Childrens Hospital have produced some excellent material on ACL and MCL injuries.
Injury Prevention Series ACL - Boston Children's Hospital
Female Athlete Wellness - ACL - Boston Children's Hospital
MCL Tear, MCL Sprain and Medial Collateral Ligament Injury - The Stretch Coach