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ACL Retear


ACL or Anterior Cruciate Ligament retear is fortunately rare. However, we come across the retears on regular basis as a tertiary centre for ligament reconstructions. Retear can be either due to a new episode of an acute injury or alternatovely due to repetitive strain over a period of time. 

Why & how does it happen?

ACL retear can occur due to a further injury with significant enough twisting of the knee with foot planted. This may happen and would be overwhelming injury for the native ACL as well anyway. Alternatively, it can be due to poor surgical technique and tunnel placements which puts the grafts at risk. Third reason being incomplete rehabilitation and poor refining of the landing technique. 

Who gets this injury?

We see this typically in sporting population such as footballers, basketball players, cricketers, badminton etc particularly on early return to sports with inadequate rehabilitation.


  • Instability

  • Swelling

  • Limited range of movement initially

  • Occasional locking (bucket handle tears)

When to seek medical help?

A thorough assessment by an expert Arthroscopy Surgeon and MRI scan (preferably 3 Tesla imaging) are necessary to analyze the extent of injury.

What happens to ACL retear if no treatment is undertaken?

ACL retear along with other joint problems such as cartilage loss and meniscal tears can hasten the onset of arthritis of the joint. Stable joint with functioning ACL is desirable to minimise risk of further wear and tear and injuries. 

What happens when I visit the Consultant?

You will be asked about the nature of injury, symptoms further to that so far. Carrying the previous health records, discharge summary would be helpful, as the Consultant needs to assess all of these information. Consultant will examine you and discuss the treatment modalities. Pros and cons of Revision ACL reconstruction surgery will be discussed. 

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