The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) is one of the four main ligaments within the knee that connects the femur to the tibia. The ACL is the primary stabiliser in providing anterior and rotational stability. An ACL injury is one of the most common types of knee injury accounting for 40% of all sports injuries and generally occurs more in sporting individuals however can occur in any individual.

The cause of an ACL tear can come from contact or Non contact. A contact injury is when there is an impact to the leg  that causes the ACL to rupture such as direct blow, while a non-contact ACL tear is when we suddenly stop, twist, land or pivot on the leg causing the injury.

ACL Tear

If an ACL tear has occurred, ACL Reconstruction Surgery may be required; however this depends on the severity of the injury. There are 3 different classifications of ACL tears that can occur. These are a Grade 1 (mildy damaged but stable), Grade 11 (partial tear) that can be loose and a Grade 3 were there is a full rupture which is unstable thus requires surgery.  With grade I and II injuries there is high chance that the ligament will heal but you should consult with your therapist or specialist on the ACL tear recovery time line. ACL surgery is performed, on Grade III injuries, using a graft that can be known as an Autograft (our own tissue) or an allograft (other tissue).  Most commonly the graft of choice is an autograft and is usually taken from the patella tendon or the hamstrings and gracilics muscles. The new graft is measured, cut and stitched and then inserted in to a tunnel from the tibia to the femur to replace the previous torn ACL.

ACL Rehabilitation

The ACL reconstruction Rehabilitation encompasses exercises with a goal to return you to normal strength, stability and function aiding in a return to activity and sport. The standard ACL Surgery Recovery Timeline is approximately 9 months however this can be longer or shorter depending on each individual. The ACL recovery time can be slightly different if there are other procedures performed with the ACL Surgery such meniscus repairs or other ligament repairs. The physiotherapist will guide you through the ACL rehab protocol.

The ACL Rehab focuses on a return to normal movement and in building up your muscle strength, especially the quadriceps and hamstrings. Once there is an adequate amount of strength then a return to hopping and running is then performed with a final phase of return to sport.

Contact Information

To book an initial consultation at Kensington Physio & Sports Medicine with one of our expert physiotherapists, please call us on 0207 6030040 or email us at