Anterior Cruciate Knee Injury (ACL)

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What has happened?

You have injured your anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), one of the main ligaments in your knee.

What should I expect?

  • It is common for the knee to be swollen and for you to have difficulty walking
  • Pain, swelling and stiffness usually take several weeks to settle

What should I do?

  • Initial management for this injury includes rest (possibly the use of crutches), elevation (putting your foot up on a chair/ pillow), ice packs and simple pain relief (e.g. paracetamol and ibuprofen)
  • If you are given crutches, you can stop using these as soon as you feel comfortable - you do not need to see a doctor before doing this
  • You should make an appointment with a physiotherapist to follow up this injury - take your ACC form/number with you

What should I not do?

  • Initially, you should avoid sports that involve twisting your ankle (e.g. football), and you may find gentle activities (e.g. cycling) easier - your physio should guide you regarding this

Will I be followed up?

  • You should continue to see your physio for this injury
  • Some of these injuries do need further surgical management and, if this is required, your physio or GP can refer you to an orthopaedic surgeon for review after initial rehabilitation

What if I have concerns/questions?

  • If you have any ongoing problems with your knee, you should discuss these with your physio or GP in the first instance - take your ACC form/number with you