Medical Topic Research Blog

Topic: Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tear by Randi Rogers

Definitions and Word Analysis of Five Medical Terms

A. Word Analysis of neuromuscular
neur/o (CF) = nerve
muscul (R) = muscle
-ar (S) = pertaining to
Neuromuscular is pertaining to both nerves and muscles.
B. Word Analysis of diagnosis
dia- (P) = through
-gnosis (S) = knowledge
Diagnosis is the determination of the cause and nature of a disease which is most often determined through knowledge.
C. Word Analysis of orthopedist
orth/o (CF) = straight
ped (R) = foot, child
-ist (S) = one who specializes, agent
Orthopedist is someone who specializes in correcting the bones with surgery, casting or bracing.
D. Word Analysis of arthritis
arthr (R) = joint
-itis (S) = inflammation
Arthritis is inflammation of a joint.
E. Word Analysis of arthralgia
arthr (R) = joint
-algia (S) = pain
Arthralgia is joint pain.


Anterior cruciate ligament tear, also known as an ACL tear, is one of the most common knee injuries. The knee contains two types of ligaments: collateral and cruciate. The anterior cruciate ligament and the posterior cruciate ligaments cross to form an "X" within the knee joint. The anterior cruciate ligament is in front of the posterior ligament. Together the two ligaments work to control the oscillation motion of the knee ("Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injuries," 2014). Each year about one in a hundred people suffer a serious knee injury and about 38% of these are an anterior cruciate ligament tear (Linko, Harilainen, Malmivaara, & Seitsalo, 2005). The tear typically occurs after an acute injury or repeated episodes of instability (Moeller, 1997). After an acute injury, arthritis, or inflammation of the joints, can occur which can increase the likelihood of a patient experiencing an anterior cruciate ligament tear. There can be many causes for the tear: changing direction rapidly, stopping suddenly, slowing down while running, landing incorrectly and direct contact or collision ("Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injuries," 2014).
Both physical examination and imaging tests are used to conclude a diagnosis. A patient who suffers a anterior cruciate ligament tear will experience severe arthralgia surrounding the area. The patient may also hear a "pop" noise, which would be the ligament tearing. A orthopedic doctor will look at the neuromuscular components surrounding the injury. Many times at this point, the doctor is able to diagnosis the injury. If they are unable to, X-rays and magnetic resonance imaging scans can be used to show whether or not there is a anterior cruciate ligament tear ("Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injuries," 2014). There is a bit of debate upon which treatment option is the best when dealing with an anterior cruciate ligament tear. Someone who experiences this can have surgical reconstruction, but they can also do nonoperative treatment (Funahashi, 2014). Nonsurgical treatments could be bracing and the use of crutches to protect the knee and avoid putting weight on it. Surgical treatment involves a orthopedic surgeon rebuilding the ligament within your knee.
Regardless of the treatment a patient chooses, the road to recovery will be a long process. "A physical therapy program will help you regain knee strength and motion" ("Anterior Crusiate Ligament (ACL) Injuries," 2014). For athletes, the process will take months to get cleared to participate again. Rehabilitation contains multiple phases for a patient who chose to undergo surgery. The first focus will be to gain motion of the new joint. A strength program will be designed as well. The final phases will be aimed at reaching the patient back to everyday activities and back to their sport.

Works Cited

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injuries-OrthoInfo - AAOS. (2014, March). Retrieved March 18, 2016, from
Funahashi, T. T. (2014, May). Anterior cruciate ligament injuries in adolescents with open physis: Effect of recurrent injury and surgical delay on meniscal and cartilage injuries. Retrieved March 18, 2016, from
Linko, E., Harilainen, A., Malmivaara, A., & Seitsalo, S. (2005). Surgical versus conservative interventions for anterior cruciate ligament ruptures in adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews Reviews. Retrieved March 18, 2016.

Moeller, J. L. (1997). Diagnosis and Treatment of ACL Injuries [Abstract]. Retrieved March 18, 2016, from