The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the major ligaments that stabilises the knee. Damage to this ligament is often the result of a sporting injury.
The injury causes acute knee pain and swelling. The pain improves significantly within a few weeks to leave the knee relatively pain free. The knee however develops a tendency to being unstable especially when the patient attempts to return to sporting acivity.
Surgical reconstruction of the ACL consists of inserting either synthetic material, or a graft tendon, to replace the damaged ligament. Synthetic ligaments are no longer widely used due to their inferior perfomance over time and the tendency to early failure.
Following surgery, there is an intensive rehabilitation regime supervised by a physiotherapist. It is many months before it is safe to return to high level sporting activity.