This ligament is located in the centre of the knee. It is the front (anterior) of the 2 cruciate ligaments of the knee. The ACL function is to stop the tibia (shin bone) moving forwards on the femur (thigh bone).
The ACL is also the main proprioceptor for the knee allowing the brain to recognise where the knee is in space and time). It is the more commonly injured of the 2 cruciate ligaments.
Injury can be by direct contact / indirect contact
Injury classically leads to a:
- popping sound
- swelling within the 1 hour after injury
- knee gives way at the time of injury
- the injured person is usually unable to finish the game
- History & Clinical examination
- An X-ray is usually required to exclude any boney injury
- MRI scan may be required to confirm the diagnosis
- Diagnostic arthroscopic (keyhole) surgery is occasionally required usually in partial tears of the ACL
The available options demand on the injured individual and what their functional requirements are.
- Non-operative treatment includes physiotherapy and on occasions bracing
- Operative treatment involves arthroscopic (keyhole) / open reconstruction of the ACL