The anterior cruciate ligament is one of the main stabilising ligaments of the knee. ACL tears are common and are seen in athletes of all ages and all skill levels.
The majority are non-contact injuries and typically occur when the athlete is twisting, turning or side-stepping with the foot firmly on the ground, especially during football or rugby, or with a poor landing from a jump as in netball and basketball. Skiing injuries occur when the binding fails to release as the ski twists the leg.
At the initial injury, you may hear and feel a distinctive ‘pop’ accompanied by pain and swelling within the hour.
You may also experience instability of the knee with a feeling that it will ‘give way’ particularly when returning to pivoting or twisting activities.
A significant proportion of ACL injuries occur in combination with an additional injury such as a meniscus tear, articular cartilage injury or other ligament injury. Early expert assessment is essential to ascertain the full extent of the injury.
A detailed evaluation of your knee is performed through a series of clinical tests supported by x-rays and a MRI scan. The MRI will also determine if there are any other associated injuries especially as these can affect initial treatment.