There are 2 cruciate ligaments In the knee joint. The ACL runs obliquely from the shin bone (tibia) to the thigh bone (femur). It prevents forward movement of the tibia on the femur and also provides rotational stability to the knee. It is commonly injured by a sudden change in direction, stopping suddenly, landing inappropriately following a jump or involved in a tackle such as rugby, football, downhill skiing etc.


Symptoms include severe pain, loud ‘pop’ heard/felt at the time of injury, unable to continue activity and one may have to be carried off the field, knee swelling within a few hours, reduced range of movement of the knee and instability i.e. the knee tends to buckle especially with twisting activities.



  1. X-Ray – The ACL tear will not show up on an X-Ray. However, it is performed to look for other pathology.
  2. MRI Scan – These magnetic scans are best used for diagnosis of soft tissue and bony pathology. The ACL may be damaged at the femoral end, mid substance or the tibial end.



Rest, Ice packs and analgesics may help to reduce the pain and swelling.

However, depending on the persistence of symptoms like instability your surgeon may suggest reconstruction of the ACL and in a few cases repair. The ACL reconstruction is normally performed using hamstring graft and is keyhole-assisted surgery.



Rest, Ice Packs, Compression & Elevation (RICE) and physiotherapy will help reduce pain, swelling, improve range of motion, restore muscle bulk.

If the instability persists then surgery is offered, and this will require post-operative rehabilitation and the person is allowed sporting activities in around 9 months following surgery.



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