How ACL Injuries Are Detected on the Field

May 1, 2013 | Robert Taylor

Must See Sports Injuries Videos

You see an athlete go down and clutch his knee. The sports medicine staff sprints out and immediately begins assessing the situation, grabbing, bending and pulling the seemingly injured knee. It may look painful, but Lachman's Test is a necessary evil to determine whether an ACL injury has occurred. (Learn more about knee injuries.)

In simple terms, most ACL injuries are caused by sliding or rotating the thighbone in relation to the shinbone. Extreme force is placed on the ligaments, resulting in a sprain or a complete tear. No athlete is immune, but the chance of this happening can be reduced with a proper strength and conditioning program. (See 3 Exercises to Prevent ACL Injuries.)

Immediately after an injury, there may be no visual sign except minor swelling (which increases over time). However, the sports medicine staff must do a preliminary evaluation so they can take the proper course of action and prevent the athlete from suffering further damage.

One of the most common tests is called Lachman's Test. It is designed to detect an ACL injury by checking anterior joint laxity. Here's how the test is conducted:

  • The athlete lies down and extends both legs.
  • A medical staff member bends the uninjured knee to about 20 degrees of flexion.
  • The medical staff member grasps the femur (i.e., thighbone) with one hand.
  • With the other hand, he or she grasps the tibia (i.e., shinbone) with his or her thumb positioned on the tibial tuberosity (i.e., the bony bulge at the top of the tibia).
  • The medical staff member then pulls and pushes the tibia forward and backward on the uninjured leg to assess the athlete's normal joint laxity.
  • He or she then performs the same procedure on the injured leg. If more joint laxity exists, or the athlete feels pain, an injury has occurred.

This test is important for assessing an injury, but it's also important to have determined an athlete's needs before an injury to get a baseline. Baseline information can be used to identify issues and possibly take corrective action before an ACL injury occurs.

Watch this video from SMARTER Team Training for more info on Lachman's Test:

Editor's Note: Coach Taylor has developed the SMARTER Team Training Audio Interview Series, dedicated to promoting critical thinking, reason and public understanding of prudent, purposeful and productive strength and conditioning practices for clients and athletes. Listen to episodes featuring some of the best experts in the fields of strength and conditioning, personal training, sports nutrition and sport psychology here.

Photo: Orthopaedics One

[cf]skyword_tracking_tag[/cf]

Topics: ACL INJURY
Robert Taylor
- Robert Taylor is the founder and owner of SMARTER Team Training. He has served as the head strength and conditioning coach at Loyola University Maryland;...
Robert Taylor
- Robert Taylor is the founder and owner of SMARTER Team Training. He has served as the head strength and conditioning coach at Loyola University Maryland;...
Must See
Abby Wambach Will Do Whatever It Takes Abby Wambach Will Do Whatever It Takes
Views: 6,029,485
NFL Wide Receiver Randall Cobb Outworks Everyone NFL Wide Receiver Randall Cobb Outworks Everyone
Views: 33,759,708
Antonio Brown Juggles 3 Footballs Antonio Brown Juggles 3 Footballs
Views: 1,214,245

Featured Videos

Tobin Heath Closed-Space Dribbling Tobin Heath Closed-Space Dribbling Views: 1,175,887
Real Workouts: Randall Cobb Real Workouts: Randall Cobb Views: 23,406
Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Views: 70,968
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill
Views: 9,499,214
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 11,426,460
Two-Ball Dribbling Drill With John Wall Two-Ball Dribbling Drill With John Wall
Views: 3,362,798
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,577,596
Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles
Views: 4,333,222

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
10 Ways to Fix Back Pain

10 Ways to Fix Back Pain

Preventing and Treating a Setback During Your Sport Season: 10 Ways to Fix Back Pain By Jim Carpentier, CSCS Back spasms and lower, middle or upper back...

Avoid Low-Back Pain With These 7 In-Season Exercises

Avoid Low-Back Pain With These 7 In-Season Exercises

Outsmart Injury With These 4 Predictive Tests

Outsmart Injury With These 4 Predictive Tests

7 Ways to Fix Back Pain

7 Ways to Fix Back Pain

Why Tommy John Surgery Is Ruining Pitchers

Why Tommy John Surgery Is Ruining Pitchers

STUDY: Imaginary Exercise Helps You Recover Faster From Injury

STUDY: Imaginary Exercise Helps You Recover Faster From Injury

6 Steps for Recovering From a Season-Ending Injury

6 Steps for Recovering From a Season-Ending Injury

Predicting the Impact of DeMarco Murray's Hand Injury

Predicting the Impact of DeMarco Murray's Hand Injury

Pectoral Tendon Ruptures and Injury Prevention

Pectoral Tendon Ruptures and Injury Prevention

4 Tips to Relieve Muscle Stiffness

4 Tips to Relieve Muscle Stiffness

Sports Hernias: What You Need to Know

Sports Hernias: What You Need to Know

2 Ways to Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt

2 Ways to Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt

Achilles Tendon Ruptures: Prevention and Recovery

Achilles Tendon Ruptures: Prevention and Recovery

Coaches: Prevent Injuries With the Recovery Management Tool

Coaches: Prevent Injuries With the Recovery Management Tool

8 of the Most Ridiculous Off-Field Athlete Injuries of All Time

8 of the Most Ridiculous Off-Field Athlete Injuries of All Time

STUDY: Female Athletes Are at Higher Risk of Overuse Injuries

STUDY: Female Athletes Are at Higher Risk of Overuse Injuries

Dry Needling: Powerful, Drug-Free Pain Relief for Athletes

Dry Needling: Powerful, Drug-Free Pain Relief for Athletes

Quarterbacks: 4 Tips to Keep Your Throwing Shoulder Healthy

Quarterbacks: 4 Tips to Keep Your Throwing Shoulder Healthy

4 Sports Massage Techniques to Relieve Tight Muscles

4 Sports Massage Techniques to Relieve Tight Muscles

How to Train With Running Blisters

How to Train With Running Blisters

Eliminate Elbow Pain with These 3 Methods

Eliminate Elbow Pain with These 3 Methods

How to Keep Your Feet Healthy On and Off the Field

How to Keep Your Feet Healthy On and Off the Field

5 Tips to Intelligently Train Through Lower Back Pain

5 Tips to Intelligently Train Through Lower Back Pain

5 Bodyweight Exercises to Prevent Baseball Injuries

5 Bodyweight Exercises to Prevent Baseball Injuries

Avoid ACL Injuries in Softball with PREP

Avoid ACL Injuries in Softball with PREP

The Secret Weapon Powering Stephen Curry's Resurgence

The Secret Weapon Powering Stephen Curry's Resurgence

6 Ways to Prevent Common Sports Injuries

6 Ways to Prevent Common Sports Injuries

Preventing ACL Injuries in Soccer Players

Preventing ACL Injuries in Soccer Players

Basketball Players: Prevent Ankle Sprains With These 3 Exercises

Basketball Players: Prevent Ankle Sprains With These 3 Exercises

How to Prevent In-Season Volleyball Injuries

How to Prevent In-Season Volleyball Injuries

5 Things You Can Do to Prevent Muscle Injuries

5 Things You Can Do to Prevent Muscle Injuries

Connective Tissue: The Key to Preventing ACL Injuries

Connective Tissue: The Key to Preventing ACL Injuries

Impressive Advances in ACL Rehab

Impressive Advances in ACL Rehab

4 Strategies to Prevent Tommy John Surgery

4 Strategies to Prevent Tommy John Surgery

The Future of Sports Injury Rehabilitation

The Future of Sports Injury Rehabilitation

How to Treat Piriformis Syndrome

How to Treat Piriformis Syndrome

Evan Gattis's Protection-Enhanced Catcher's Helmet

Evan Gattis's Protection-Enhanced Catcher's Helmet

How to Prevent Baseball Injuries During the Off-Season

How to Prevent Baseball Injuries During the Off-Season

Reducing Low-Back Pain: What You Need to Know

Reducing Low-Back Pain: What You Need to Know

3 Steps to Prevent Soccer ACL Injuries

3 Steps to Prevent Soccer ACL Injuries

Megan Rapinoes Secret to Staying Healthy

Megan Rapinoe

6 Simple Tips to Prevent Knee Injuries

6 Simple Tips to Prevent Knee Injuries

Prevent ACL Injuries With This Hamstring-Focused Workout

Prevent ACL Injuries With This Hamstring-Focused Workout

YardBarker