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ACL injury (Anterior Cruciate Ligament injury)
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About ACL injury (Anterior Cruciate Ligament injury)


The knee joint is the largest joint in the human body. It is made up of the femur bone that joins a flat bone called the tibia. Those bones are held together by various ligaments. The ACL, anterior cruciate ligament, is one of the four major ligaments of the knee. It runs from the front of the tibia to the back of the femur & is responsible for preventing the shinbone (tibia) from moving too far forward (anteriorly) in relation to the thigh bone (femur). It is often injured during athletic contests and is considered one of the most common sports injuries. Women are more likely to have an ACL tear than men.

ACL tear


Mostly it gives a popping sound indicating the knee "giving out." The knee usually becomes swollen anywhere from two to six hours after the injury, and it will stay swollen for two to four weeks. This is associated with pain and instability. Even when the swelling subsides, the instability is still present and will give a feeling of unsteadiness. Occasionally, locking of the knee happens, when there is concurrent injury to the meniscus cartilage.


Most ACL tears are non-contact injuries. It may occur when knee gets twisted too forcefully, gets overextended or when there is sudden change of direction while running, jumping or turning.

Basketball, football, tennis, badminton and skiing are common sports linked to ACL tears.


- Physical examination
- X-ray
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan


At the time of injury, the initial treatment involves ice and pain medication to help reduce pain and inflammation.

Use of crutches may be advised until the knee heals enough to allow walking without a limp.

Physiotherapy and rehabilitation programs that involve strengthening and stretching exercises to regain strength and a full range of motion are necessary to regain proper functioning of the knee. Knee brace may help to support the instable joint.

Depending on the severity of injury and the kind of activities that the person is likely to involve in future, surgical reconstruction of the ligament (Arthroscopic ligament repair) may be advised.

Normal sports activity can be restarted 6-9 months post surgery.

You may also like to learn about:

Meniscal tear
PCL injury
Knock knees
Knee pain
Bone cancer

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