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What is an anterior cruciate ligament?
Around the Academy:

Knee ligaments

Middlesbrough's Gaizka Mendieta is the latest high profile sports star to suffer from a cruciate knee injury.

It results in a lengthy period on the sidelines, but why is it so serious?

The Academy finds out exactly what the ACL does.


There are four main ligaments in the knee - one on either side and two across the middle.

  • Medial collateral ligament (MCL)
  • Lateral collateral ligament (LCL)
  • Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)
  • Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL)

    The ACL is behind the kneecap (patella) and is in front of the PCL.

    Gaizka Mendieta
    Mendieta is out for the season
    It's the second strongest ligament in the knee and stabilises the joint, connecting the thigh bone (femur) and the leg bone (tibia).

    The ACL and PCL limit the overstraightening, overbending and rotation of the knee.

    The average length of the ACL is around 35mm, weighing around 20g.

    Operate or not?
    Surgery is not always essential when the ACL is ruptured.

    But in the case of a young sportsman looking to return to sport as soon as possible, it will be.

    A middle aged or older person could recover without going under the surgeon's knife.

    However, it is believed that repairing the ligament can reduce the risk of getting arthritis in the joint later in life.

    Surgeon's will usually graft tissue from either the patella or hamstring tendons to repair the ACL.

    Basically it is like transplanting that tissue into the ACL.

    The success rate for such operations is high and while the injured person can soon be up and walking, running and twisting are some months further down the line.

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  • What is an ACL?
    The road to recovery

    Achilles heel
    Bone fracture
    Ligament damage
    Metatarsal hell
    Back injuries
    Hamstring strain
    Shin splints
    Sprained ankle
    Dead leg
    Cramp
    Knee ligaments

    Open Quote
    My studs caught and I landed awkwardly on my right knee. It didn't really hurt that much to be honest.
    Close Quote
    Simon Jones
    England fast bowler




    FROM THE BBC >>
    :: Keane's injury admission
    :: Keane v Haaland

    INTERNET LINKS >>
    :: Knee injuries
    :: Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Hospital, Oswestry

    The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



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