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What is the ACL?

Knee Anatomy (Image Credit: Seif Medical Graphics)

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of a pair of ligaments in the center of the knee joint that form a cross, and this is where the name "cruciate" comes from. There is both an anterior and a posterior cruciate ligament (PCL). Both of these ligaments function to stabilize the knee from front-to-back.Torn ACL (Image Credit: Seif Medical Graphics)    

Anterior displacement (Image Credit: Seif Medical Graphics)

In medical terms, the ACL is the primary restraint to anterior displacement of the tibia on the femur. This means that when the ACL is injured, the shinbone can slide forward on the thighbone, causing the knee to "give way".


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