Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) rupture is a common injury among athletes. It usually occurs after a rotational injury whilst pivoting off the affected leg. The injury usually causes acute pain and swelling which often settles within a few weeks. There is, however, residual instability in the knee, particularly with movements such as pivoting or sidestepping.
Rupture of the ACL should be managed with reconstruction if it is likely that the patient will return to pivoting or sidestepping activities in their chosen sporting activities. It is recommended to stabilise the knee before a return to such activities as football, soccer, dance, gymnastics etc to reduce the risk of injury to other structures in the knee such as the meniscus or joint cartilage. It is particularly important in younger athletes to have a stable knee.
For older patients, the choice to have a reconstruction is often dependent upon their daily physical requirements, as well as their planned return to sports or pivoting activities. Many patients will want to continue such activities a skiing, tennis, soccer and running. Many of these patients will elect to proceed to reconstruction.