An anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury is commonly called an ACL tear.
The ACL is one of the main stabilising ligaments in the knee, connecting the thighbone (femur) to the shinbone (tibia).
Typical symptoms include:
ACL tears commonly occur during sports and fitness activities that involve:
Your risk of getting an ACL tear is higher if you:
If you have an ACL tear, you have a significantly higher risk of developing knee arthritis.
This increased risk remains regardless of whether the tear was surgically repaired. Experts believe that the inflammatory response of the knee to the injury itself contributes to arthritis.
About 1 in 2 people who experience a torn ACL will experience the onset of arthritis within 10 – 15 years. As ACL injuries are common among younger people and athletes, this could mean that the onset of arthritis can occur in the prime of their lives.
You can reduce your risk of an ACL tear by strengthening your leg muscles and practising good form.
Strengthening your leg muscles will help protect your knees. Exercises such as squats and lunges help with overall strengthening, and exercises that target the hamstrings may be especially helpful.
When you practise good form, your improved core strength and balance make you more stable and less likely to injure your knees. Practising good form means: