Sprains are injuries that occur when a ligament is stretched or torn. Ligaments are the tissues that connect two or more bones at a joint, providing stability and allowing the joint to move. There are four major ligaments in the knee: two collateral ligaments for side-to-side stability and two cruciate ligaments for stability during rotation and forward and backward movement. Various motions can damage each of these tissues.
One of the most common knee sprains in athletes is an anterior cruciate ligament or ACL injury. The ACL is one of the ligaments that form an "X" in the knee, stabilizing against front-to-back or back-to-front movements. This type of knee sprain occurs due to sudden stops or twists, changes in direction, extreme hyperextension, or impact to the outside of the knee or lower leg.
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