Sports Injury Clinic

The ACL: What is it and how to return to sport

on December 11, 2022

The Anterior Cruciate Ligament

What is The ACL?

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the four major ligaments that stabilize the knee joint. The ACL is a strong, elastic band of tissue that connects to the front and top part of the tibia (shin bone), and to a bony prominence on the femur (thigh bone). It prevents the shin bone from sliding too far forward on top of the thigh bone.

There are many injuries that can happen to an ACL. One common injury is an ACL tear or rupture. This happens when there is sudden twisting motion in your knee, such as when you try to turn quickly while running or during contact sports like soccer. Injuries can also happen if you land awkwardly after jumping off a wall or a tree branch.

How Does An ACL Injury Feel?

An anterior cruciate ligament injury, also known as an ACL injury, is a serious knee injury. It is usually caused by a sudden stop or twist of the knee and it can happen to anyone at any time.

An ACL injury is one of the most common knee injuries. It can be caused by a sudden twist or pivot of the knee, or by a direct blow to the outside of the knee. The ACL is a ligament that connects your thighbone to your shinbone and helps stabilize your knee.


– Pain and swelling around the joint

– Instability in the joint

– A popping sensation when you try to move or use your leg

– Sudden weakness when trying to walk

– Difficulty balancing on one leg

How Do We Treat An ACL Injury?

The anterior cruciate ligament is a crucial ligament in the knee, and when it is injured, it can be difficult to function normally. It can take months for the injury to heal, and people need to be careful that they don’t aggravate the injury.

The first thing that we would always suggest with any suspected ACL injury is for an MRI scan to be conducted. This will allow the full extent of any damage to be understood.

There are many ways to treat an ACL injury, but one of the most common treatments is surgery. This surgery will involve replacing or repairing the torn ligament with a new one. The surgical procedure will vary depending on how severe the injury is, but usually involves drilling holes in bone and fastening screws or other hardware into place while the patient is under anesthesia.

Once a decision has been made around surgery, and if surgery is required and completed, it is imperative that a detailed rehabilitation and treatment program is undertaken. The typical period of time for a full recovery and return to sport is twelve months. As a result, there are many stages that must be achieved that include a focus on improving range of motion at the lower limbs, early stage strength, late stage functional strength and finally sport specific exercises. This is possibly the most complex of sporting injuries and it is vital that a detailed program is closely followed.

At our Orpington, Bromley and Virtual clinics, we work extensively with ACL rehabilitation and can begin immediate treatment and rehabilitation for you.