Anterior Cruciate Ligament Rupture: Who should have surgery?

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of knee’s major ligaments. It supports our ability to do sudden stops, pivot or changes in direction. It usually occurs after a rotational injury whilst pivoting off the affected leg in sporting activities.

Often times people experiencing an ACL injury may hear or feel a “pop” within the knee. Symptoms may include pain, swelling and feeling of instability.

Some ACL injuries may be treated conservatively by rest and physiotherapy designed to strengthen and stabilise the quadriceps muscles and avoiding activities involving sudden stops, pivot or changes in direction. However more severe injuries and symptoms of instability will require surgery to replace the torn ligament. This surgery is described as an ACL reconstruction.

It is particularly important in younger athletes to have a stable knee. Choice of treatment in older patients is often dependent on their activities of daily living and their sporting and pivoting activities. Active patients participating in football, soccer, basketball, netball, tennis and skiing often have symptoms of instability and will elect to proceed to reconstruction.

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