Anterior cruciate ligament injury

A knee injury and common sports injury

A full or partial tear to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)

What is an ACL injury?

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is a band of strong band of cord like tissue that runs across and inside your knee to keep it stable. Tearing the ACL can happen during every day activity but is also a common sports injury, which may happen during an awkward landing, impact or sudden change of direction that results in a twisting motion at the knee. Our knee specialist consultants can assess your knee and advise on the best way to treat it.

Need to know

  • What are the symptoms of an ACL injury? icon plus

    When you tear your ACL, you may experience some or all of the following:

    • A popping or snapping sound at the time of inury
    • Pain
    • Rapid onset of swelling
    • Feeling unstable or unsteady when weight bearing after the injury
    • Knee stiffness
  • How are ACL injuries diagnosed? icon plus

    Our knee specialist will assess you in detail, this will involve asking you a series of questions, examining your knee, and will often involve an MRI scan. MRI scans help to confirm the diagnosis, assess the severity of your injury and help you and your consultant to plan your onward care.
  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    Resting your knee is a key part of the recovery. Your consultant will discuss any further treatment options with you. These may depend on how stable your knee feels, your day-to-day function and your sporting profile. In certain cases, you may need to consider surgery to re-build your ACL (ACL Reconstruction). This involves rebuilding the ACL with other tissue — usually your own hamstrings or patella tendon. Your consultant will talk this through with you.

Our knee consultants

We're proud to work with leading orthopaedic experts specialising in problems and conditions of the knee, including the bones, ligaments and tendons, and whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion.
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Our locations

From complex knee surgery to diagnostic scans and procedures, we provide exceptional orthopaedic care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Request a knee appointment

We're happy to help you make an appointment with one of our experienced knee consultants. We can also make imaging and outpatient physiotherapy appointments for you.

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020 7079 4344
This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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