Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injuries
The ACL is a commonly damaged ligament during sporting activities, especially in sports that involve pivoting e.g. football, rugby or netball. A rupture or tear of the ACL usually results from a twisting motion of a slightly bent knee when the foot is planted on the ground. The patient often feels a pop or click inside the knee and almost always has to leave the field of play.
The same force is applied to the knee in a ski fall when the ski does not release its binding. Most people find the knee swells up very quickly which is associated with the torn ligament bleeding into the knee.
The management of ACL injuries has been refined over the last 15 years or so. Diagnosis is usually made clinically (by history and examination) but often an MRI scan is obtained to look for other injuries that can occur at the same time e.g. meniscal tears. Your consultant will discuss the treatment options available to you, which again can vary from non-operative options through to surgical reconstructions.
The best treatment depends on what else is damaged, how unstable or wobbly the knee is on a day to day basis and what the patient’s sporting ambitions are in the future. For more information on the injury and surgical reconstruction please download our pdf here and/or follow this link to the National Ligament Registry website.