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ACL Reconstruction

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is located toward the front of the knee and is the most common ligament to be injured. The ACL is often stretched and/or torn during a sudden twisting motion (when the feet stay planted one way, but the knees turn the other way). Skiing, basketball, and football are sports that have a higher risk of ACL injuries. 

Knee ligament repair or reconstruction is a treatment for a complete tear of a knee ligament that results in instability in the knee. People with a torn knee ligament may be unable to do normal activities that involve twisting or turning at the knee. The knee may buckle or "give-way." 

Early medical treatment for knee ligament injury may include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Rest
  • Ice pack application (to reduce swelling that occurs within hours of the injury)
  • Compression (from an elastic bandage or brace)
  • Elevation
  • Pain relievers

A knee ligament tear may be treated with the following:

  • Muscle-strengthening exercises
  • Protective knee brace (for use during exercise)
  • Activity limitations

If treatments are not satisfactory, ligament repair or reconstruction surgery may be an effective treatment. The surgery to correct a torn knee ligament involves replacing the ligament with a piece of healthy tendon. A tendon from the kneecap or hamstring, for example, is grafted into place to hold the knee joint together. The tendon graft may come from the person or from an organ donor.

Learn more about knee ligament repair.