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Author Topic: Can I tear my ACL by just putting too much weight on it?  (Read 865 times)

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Offline soonpower

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Can I tear my ACL by just putting too much weight on it?
« on: March 15, 2011, 03:38:15 AM »
I know that ACL tears are usually done while pivoting or cutting. But can ACL tears happen by just putting too much weight on your legs? I had my first ACL tear while sparring in judo. My muscles were exhausted and while trying to lift my opponent, my leg buckled, and I felt a snap.

I had recontruction surgery. Now three years later, it happened again to my other knee. Same thing happen. I was exhausted, and I was putting a lot of weight on my legs and it buckled.

I'm already overweight to begin with at 260 pounds. So perhaps my ACL is not strong enough to support my own weight and someone elses.

Can ACL tears happen just by excessive weight or do I have abnormally weak ACL's.

I have done some other martial arts like kickboxing which involve a lot more movement and changing direction but doesn't involve lifting or pushing against someone and I had no problems.

It's seem like putting weight on my knee made the ACL tear in both cases.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2011, 03:49:01 AM by soonpower »

Offline Snowy

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Re: Can I tear my ACL by just putting too much weight on it?
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2011, 04:59:10 AM »
Yes, I'm afraid I can vouch from my own experience that ACL tears can happen without cutting or pivoting. My first (partial) tear happened when I landed awkwardly from a jumping sidekick while kickboxing, and hyperextended the leg. I didn't pitch sideways at all; the leg just bent the wrong way and then buckled under me. Four years later the ACL finally gave way completely when I fell backwards on top of my own skis after mistiming a jump, and slid down the hill. Again, no sideways motion at all; this time it felt like the weight of my body on the tail of the skis held me back while the rest of me was trying to slide forwards, and the two opposing forces just pulled something in the knee apart.

I'm not sure how common this is, but from my understanding of the mechanics of the knee I think that while it's far easier to tear an ACL with a twisting movement, an excessive movement of the shinbone away from the thighbone could have the same effect. Although it's far more common in skiing to tear the ACL when the binding fails to release and the ski twists the knee around, the second most common way is the kind of backwards fall that I had. I don't think there's any inherent weakness in the ACL that causes this; it's more the pressure that the joint is put under. If you think about the pressure of your own weight and someone else's, that's pretty substantial. Additionally, you mention that both accidents happened while you were exhausted; this makes sense, as the leg muscles provide additional support for the knee when it's under pressure.

I'm really sorry that you're facing another surgery. Good luck with getting the new injury sorted out - I hope your recovery is smooth.
Mar 11: R Biceps femoris tear (skiing)
Jul 10: ACLr (hamstring autograft)
Mar 10: L ACL rupture (skiing)
Feb 06: L partial ACL tear (kickboxing)
Dec 03: R bone edema (motorbike)
Jan 01: R patellar chip (motorbike)
May 93: R ACL sprain (hockey)
Ongoing: bilateral PFS and OA