Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injuries

For patient information and rehabilitation guidelines following Anterior Cruciate Ligament reconstruction please download the following PDF


This leaflet aims to improve knowledge and understanding of the rehabilitation involved after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. It includes basic anatomy and information about the operation itself.

The knee is a complicated joint between the femur (thighbone) and the tibia
(shinbone). The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) runs from the back of the femur to
the front of the tibia. It is one of the main restraining ligaments in the knee and acts
to prevent excessive forward movement of the tibia. Its main function is to give the
knee stability during rotational movements like twisting, turning and sidestepping.

The ACL is most likely to be injured in a non-contact twisting movement. A tearing or
popping sensation is frequently reported at the time of injury and imediate swelling
is common due to bleeding from the ruptured ligament. Injuries to the menisci (footballer’s cartilage) or joint surfaces (articular cartilage) can also occur at the same time.

The ACL also provides important information about balance to the joint and
surrounding muscles. When it has been torn, it is unable to heal and the balance
information it carries is also lost. Sometimes, these balance mechanisms can be
improved with specific exercises and stop the knee giving way. However, when the
exercises are not enough, then reconstruction of the ACL may become necessary. It
must be said that reconstructed ligaments can never totally replace the function of the
original ligament.

If you need further advice please contact the McNicholas Knee Clinic and arrange a consultation is part of the Premier Surgeons Group ©2007. Disclaimer l l l l