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Sports-Related Knee Ligament Injuries with Arthroscopic Reconstruction

Ligaments are thick bands of tissue that engulf the joint, limiting its movement. As soon as the ligaments are damaged, the knee joint is unable to move as it should. As a result, pivoting and twisting the leg is difficult to do. The knee consists of four primary ligaments: anterior cruciate ligament, posterior cruciate ligament, medial collateral ligament and lateral collateral ligament. These essential ligaments attach the shinbone to the thighbone.

Playing extreme sports such as netball, rugby, hockey, and soccer increases the risk of anterior cruciate ligament tears or sprains. ACL injuries are usually related to bending and rotational injuries.

Knee ligament injuries are relatively common and can be highly debilitating. ACL injuries are much more common in women than in men. Unfortunately, it is impossible to suture a torn ligament back together during the surgery, and a complete reconstruction is required. Reconstructive surgery treats knee instability and restores mobility. This involves the replacement of the torn ligament with a tissue graft taken from tendons in other parts of the leg, usually from the hamstring or kneecap. The replaced ligament will incorporate into the bone over 8 to 12 months. The procedure is performed arthroscopically, which means that it is done through tiny incisions and is minimally invasive. Open surgery for ligament injuries is usually performed for the inner or medial supportive ligaments (MCL) or the outer or lateral ligaments referred to as the posterolateral corner.

Once the surgery is complete, assistance will be required around the house. Recovery from surgery takes time and involves rehabilitation through crutches and a range of motion hinge immobiliser for the knee.


The knee ligaments can be injured as a result of a sudden twist or turn. This commonly occurs as a result of a sports injury. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) found at the front of the knee is most vulnerable to injury.

Arthroscopic surgery done to repair the ligament in the knee is proven to be effective in returning stability to the knee.

Arthroscopic ACL repair is carried out through tiny cuts over the knee but also through open surgery.

ACL repair is reserved for specific injuries usually occurring in younger people. Teenagers with avulsion (small fragment of bone) injury can be treated with repair if the injury is united.


Tel 011 014 0505

Tel 011 014 0506


Address Johannesburg Surgical Hospital, 219 Beyers Naude Drive, Northcliff Randburg 2195

Address Life Wilgeheuwel Hospital, Block E Amplifier Road Radiokop 1724