The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of four main ligaments that stabilise your knee joint. Torn or ruptured ligaments can be very painful and result in the knee collapsing or giving way when making twisting or turning movements.
ACL ruptures are often as a result of twisting or turning the knee and are common in sports such as football and skiing, which incur a lot of stress on the knee area. Tearing the ligament can make up part of a more serious knee injury known as the ‘terrible triad’, which involves tearing in all of the ACL, medial collateral ligament (MCL) and the medial meniscus.
The surgeon will make one or more cuts on the front and sides of the knee after applying an anaesthetic, the ruptured ACL is replaced with a piece of suitable tissue, usually via a graft from elsewhere in the body. Your surgeon will place your replacement ligament into place either by fixing with special screws or anchoring into tunnels drilled into the bone.
Recovery time from ACL reconstruction varies depending on the severity of the injury and the individual. A good guideline to follow is between six and nine months to return to pre-injury condition with regular physiotherapy.
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