A cruciate ligament injury may affect anterior or posterior cruciate ligament or both. The ligament may tear, stretch or avulse from the bony attachment.

Page updated October 2023 by Dr Sheila Strover (Clinical Editor)


How do you injure the cruciate ligament?

Cruciate ligament injuries may be 'contact' or 'non-contact' - a bad tackle in sports, forceful twisting of the upper body when one foot is firmly on the ground, tripping and hyper-extending the knee...

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What are the symptoms of a torn cruciate ligament?

The cruciate ligaments are important stabilisers of the knee, and damage may lead to instability. The ligament has a good blood supply, so injury may also cause rapid bleeding into the knee - the blood will be contained within the capsule, leading to a balloon-like sudden swelling. A loud 'pop' may be heard at the time of the injury. There may be an immediate feeling of instability.

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Management of a torn cruciate ligament

The decision to repair or reconstruct is not an emergency. Once the diagnosis of a cruciate ligament tear has been made, the knee is put into a functional brace, where it is still possible to walk with some restraint but twisting movements are restricted. This period in a brace allows the knee to settle and blood to be resorbed. Then patient and surgeon can discuss the issues and decide on surgery to repair or reconstruct the ligament.

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Peer-reviewed papers

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crucial ligament injury

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Dr Sheila Strover (Editor)
BSc (Hons), MB BCh, MBA

See biography...

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Mrs Lesley Hall2017 - Cruciate ligament rehabilitation - by Mrs Lesley Hall (Physiotherapist)


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