ACL tears are very common knee injuries. The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) are found inside the knee joint and along with the PCL (posterior cruciate ligament) form an ‘X’ that supports the knee and controls flexion and extension of the knee. The ACL is injured more commonly than the PCL.
Sports with a high rate of ACL injuries and ACL tears include football and basketball. In about half of ACL injuries there is a also an injury to surrounding structures such as cartilage, meniscus, and other ligaments.
ACL injuries can include:
- Grade 1: the ligament is slightly stretched, but is still able to stabilise the knee joint.
- Grade 2: the ligament is stretched to the point that it can not effectively stabilise the knee. There may also be a partial tear to the ligament.
- Grade 3: this is a complete tear of the ligament, the knee joint is unstable.
Some ACL injuries will require surgery to regain full function. The need for surgery will depend on the severity of the injury and your level of activity.
Following and ACL injury or ACL surgery, a comprehensive physiotherapy and rehabilitation programme will be necessary for a full return to function.