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Anterior cruciate ligament

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the two cruciate ligaments inside the knee. It prevents the tibia (shinbone) from excessive forward motion relative to the femur (thighbone), and also prevents too much inwards twisting.

The other is the 'posterior' cruciate ligament (PCL).

anterior cruciate ligament

The word 'cruciate' means 'crossed', referring to the fact that the two cruciate ligaments cross over one another inside the knee - the one crossing over from front to back (the anterior cruciate ligament or ACL) and the other one crossing over from the back to the front (the posterior cruciate ligament or PCL).

The ACL is the more significant of the two but both are very important knee stabilisers. Rupture of either ACL or PCL is a major incident, often accompanied by a loud 'bang', and an inability to continue with the activity - with later swelling and collapsing of the joint.

Although a stretched ligament may heal satisfactorily on its own, a torn ACL usually requires reconstructive surgery.

Relevant resources on this site:

Courses about Knee Ligament Issues

19 Aug, 2015

These in-depth courses by experts are about the ligaments of the knee, such as the...

Results From the Swedish National Anterior Cruciate Ligament Register

21 Feb, 2015

This publication by Joanna Kvist, Juri Kartus, Jon Karlsson and Magnus Forssblad summarises the position of the information gleaned over a number of years from the 23,744 patients who were entered into the Swedish National register for...


Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction: A Practical Surgical Guide

23 Jan, 2015
Image of Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction: A Practical Surgical Guide

This is a clinical text written by experts for experts, and has over 500 pages of well-indexed detail and is richly illustrated in colour. It is not a beginner's book.

The three editors - Rainer Siebold, David Dejour, and...


2007 - The long-term consequences of anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus injuries: osteoarthritis

18 Mar, 2012

An 'interpretation' of a paper from 2007, which is a literature review trying to determine whether cruciate ligament injury predisposes one to osteoarthritis of the knee.


Cruciate ligament rehabilitation - Part 9 - Rehab after surgery

07 Mar, 2008

In this section I will give you a series of practical exercises after surgery, both in hospital and as you get back to normal activities.

In hospital

Control of pain and swelling are the priorities immediately after surgery.




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