The anterior cruciate ligament is one of the major stabilizing ligaments in the knee. It is a strong rope-like structure located in the center of the knee running from the femur to the tibia. When this ligament tears, unfortunately, it does not heal and often leads to the feeling of instability in the knee. ACL reconstruction is a commonly performed surgical procedure and with recent advances in arthroscopic surgery can now be performed with minimal incisions and low complication rates.
As the major stabilizing ligament of the knee, the ACL prevents the tibia (shin bone) from moving abnormally on the femur (thigh bone). When this abnormal movement occurs, it is referred to as instability. Often other structures, such as the meniscus, articular cartilage (lining of the joint) or other ligaments, can be damaged at the same time as the ACL and may need to be addressed at the time of surgery.
- Most injuries are sports related involving a twisting injury to the knee
- It can occur with a sudden change of direction, a direct blow (e.g., a tackle, landing awkwardly)
- Often there is a popping sound when the ligament ruptures
- Swelling usually occurs within hours
- There is often the feeling of the knee popping out of joint
- It is rare to be able to continue playing sports with the initial injury
Once the initial injury settles down, the main symptom is instability or giving away of the knee. This usually occurs with running activities but can occur on simple walking or other activities of daily living.
- Indications for surgery
- Risks & Complications
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