Patient Education: Diseases Conditions Treatments & Procedures

Anterior Cruciate Ligament


An anterior cruciate ligament injury is extreme stretching or tearing of the anterior cruciate ligament.  Generally, the injury occurs during exercise or sports, although a torn ACL doesn't usually result from contact between players. Once the ligament tears, it doesn't heal - it remains loose.

When an ACL injury occurs, the knee becomes less stable. The ACL injury is a problem because this instability can make sudden, pivoting movements difficult, and it may make the knee more prone to developing arthritis and cartilage tears (ACL) in the knee. A tear may be partial or complete.

There's no single best way to treat an ACL injury. Some people choose not to have surgery - especially if a torn ACL is the extent of the injury. This means making some changes in your activities, including avoiding sports that require cutting, pivoting and jumping.