Ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)

ACL RuptureWhat is it?

The anterior cruciate ligament is a ligament right in the centre of your knee.  It is most common ligament that you hear about sportsmen rupturing and having reconstructions for. 

How do you get it?

Rupturing your anterior cruciate ligament typically requires a fair amount of force.  Often, there is bleeding inside the knee at the time of the injury.  You have to stop what you are doing.  People notice an injury that ruptures their ACL.

What symptoms do you get?

A ruptured ACL will produce instability.  If you step sideways off that leg, the knee will slip out from underneath you and you will fall, perhaps to the ground.

What happens without treatment?

The instability will continue.  Rupturing your ACL is not good for your knee.  You will suffer tears in your meniscus at a rate faster than the normal population.  It is also speeds up osteoarthritis.  

How do you treat it?

The ACL can be reconstructed surgically.  This works well to get rid of the instability and reduces the rate of meniscal tears.  We would like to believe that a successful reconstruction  reduces the rate of osteoarthritis, but there is no way of proving this.