Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears are the most frequent cause of prolonged absence from sport in athletes. They usually occur when landing from a jump, a pivot or a quick deceleration. There is often a ‘pop’ sound with the feeling of something clicking out and back in. A complete tear is very painful and the athlete will often feel unstable. Within a few hours after the injury there will be swelling. Often athletes wait 24-48hours before seeing a physio/ doctor. This delayed period makes it difficult to accurately assess the knee due to the swelling and protective spasm of the hamstring.
The ACL will be reconstructed through arthroscopic surgery. It is important to see your physio for pre-habiliation before the operation to get the swelling down and get your full range of movement. After the surgery there is a lengthy period of rehabilitation to regain your range of movement, proprioception and strength to get you back to sport.