New research from the Lund University in Sweden, has revealed our genes could play a critical role in anterior cruciate ligament injury. The study looked at identical as well as fraternal twins to see whether genetics played a role.
Here, we will look at what this new research found and what it means for patients.
Genes contribute more towards common knee injury than previously thought
The study analysed data taken from the Swedish National Patient Register and the Swedish Twin Register. It included 88 414 twins, all aged 17 and over. The aim was to determine how many twins had suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury.
Results were published in the British Journal of Sport Medicine. It was discovered that genes play a part in approximately 69% of all cruciate ligament injuries.
What is an anterior cruciate ligament injury?
An anterior cruciate ligament injury is one of the most common types of knee injuries. The cruciate ligaments are found within the knee joint and they are responsible for the knee moving backwards and forwards. It runs in the middle of the knee and impacts rotational stability of the joint.
When these ligaments are injured, they are referred to as sprains. Anterior cruciate ligament injuries are graded in accordance with severity. It is rare for patients to suffer a partial tear of the ligament. Instead, they are mostly near-complete or complete tears.
There are a number of causes of anterior cruciate ligament injuries, with athletes in high-demand sports being at a particularly increased risk. Changing direction quickly, a direct collision and landing from a jump incorrectly, can all contribute towards this common injury.
If you do suffer this type of knee injury, you may hear a popping sound as it occurs. Within 24 hours after the injury, the knee will also swell. You may also feel a loss of motion and suffer discomfort when you walk.
While some anterior cruciate ligament injuries may heal on their own, patients should always seek advice from a specialist. If left untreated, an ACL injury can worsen, potentially risking the career of athletes, and leaving patients in constant pain.
What does the research mean for patients?
This new research highlighting how genes may play a part in anterior cruciate ligament injuries can prove useful in their prevention. Up until now, the genetic link hasn’t been taken into account when determining the risk factors of athletes.
If a genetic link is known, preventative measures can be taken and those at risk can be more cautious. So, it may not help with the treatment of this common injury, but it will go a long way at helping to protect those at risk.
If you suspect you have an anterior cruciate ligament injury, book a consultation with London knee surgeon Mr Jonathan Webb today. The earlier you get a diagnosis, the sooner treatment can be provided to repair the injury.