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Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injuries

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    One of the most common knee injuries is an anterior cruciate ligament sprain or tear.

    Athletes who participate in high demand sports like soccer, football, and basketball are more likely to injure their anterior cruciate ligaments.

    An anterior cruciate ligament injury is the over-stretching or tearing of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the knee. A tear may be partial or complete.

    If you have injured your anterior cruciate ligament, you may require surgery to regain full function of your knee. This will depend on several factors, such as the severity of your injury and your activity level.

    What is ACL Surgery?

    Anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACL reconstruction) is a surgical tissue graft replacement of the anterior cruciate ligament, located in the knee, to restore its function after an anterior cruciate ligament injury. The torn ligament is removed from the knee before the graft is inserted.


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    What is your ACL in your knee?

    The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is a tough band of tissue joining the thigh bone to the shin bone at the knee joint. It runs diagonally through the inside of the knee and gives the knee joint stability. It also helps control the back-and-forth movement of the lower leg.

    An ACL injury can occur if you:

    • Get hit very hard on the side of your knee, such as during a football tackle
    • Overextend the knee joint
    • Quickly stop moving and change direction while running, landing from a jump, or turning

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

    ACL injuries often occur with other injuries. For example, an ACL tear commonly occurs along with tears to the MCL and the shock-absorbing cartilage in the knee (lateral meniscus).

    Most ACL tears are seen in the middle of the ligament, or the ligament is pulled off the thigh bone. These injuries form a gap between the torn edges and do not heal on their own.


    • A “popping” sound at the time of injury
    • Knee swelling within 6 hours of injury
    • Pain, especially when you try to put weight on the injured leg

    Why the ACL procedure is performed?

    If you do not have your ACL reconstructed, your knee may continue to be unstable. This increases the chance you may have a meniscus tear. ACL reconstruction may be used for these knee problems:

    • A knee that gives way or feels unstable during daily activities
    • Knee pain
    • Inability to continue playing sports or other activities
    • When other ligaments are also injured
    • When your meniscus is torn

    Click here to get an expert opinion with our ACL Reconstruction Specialist.