ACL Rupture in Children

The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) is one of the major stabilizing ligaments in the knee. It is a strong rope like structure which is located in the centre of the knee and runs from the femur to the tibia. It is approximately 25mm in length with the diameter of a pen. Its primary function is to prevent the femur from moving abnormally apart from the tibia especially during athletic activities. 

The ACL is the main support structure of the knee that prevents:

  • The tibia from translating forward on the femur
  • Valgus, varus and hyperextension of the knee
  • Rotation of the thigh bone (femur) on the shin bone (tibia)


ACL reconstruction is a commonly performed surgery and with the technical advances in minimally invasive and arthroscopic surgery, it is performed with minimal incisions and low rates of complication.

However, treatment of an ACL rupture in children differs from the standard treatment for an ACP rupture in an adult. A child or adolescent knee varies anatomically and physiologically from an adult knee and thus the treatment must vary accordingly.

The main difference is the growth plates or epiphysis in a child’s knee. These are regions at the end of the femur and tibia of developing tissue and provide the majority of the growth of the leg. These sections are usually the weakest part of the knee. The same injury that would tear a ligament or cartilage in a mature knee is much more likely to fracture the bones through the growth plate in a child.

Please find below information on the ACL reconstruction procedure for children, what to expect prior to and during surgery as well as post surgery recovery information. 

For more information or to book a consultation to assess whether ACL reconstruction is right for your child please contact A/Prof Al Muderis' office on 1800 907 905 or +61 2 8882 9011 or book an appointment online.


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