Anterior cruciate ligament injuries

Estimated Duration: 
3 hours

The knee is one of the most common locations for injury in athletes. In most ‘football’ codes knee injuries are second only to injuries involving the thigh (hamstring and quadriceps strains and contusions).

While anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries represent less than 1% of all athletic injuries, their impact on a player’s career is very significant.  As a result, these injuries are well known and widely publicised.

In New Zealand, there are approximately three thousand ACL reconstruction surgeries performed per year. Most of these (70% of all ACL injuries) come from football, netball, rugby, rugby league and touch rugby. There are likely to be a total of 6000-7000 ACL injuries per year in New Zealand. Some injuries are never diagnosed properly while many patients chose to manage their injury non-surgically.

In this course, we will review the clinical assessment of patients with an ACL injury.  This includes aspects of the history and examination which are suggestive of this injury.  We will discuss the imaging of acute knee injuries and examine the different options available for treatment of ACL deficiency.

Learning outcomes

After completing this module you should know:

  • how to recognise an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury from clinical history taking
  • the clinical examination techniques which are required to make a diagnosis of an ACL injury
  • the role of imaging in ACL injury
  • the different treatment options for ACL injury
  •  how to implement an ACL prevention program.


Once you have completed this short course and quiz, please click 'submit' where you will be taken to the results page. From here you can print your certificate for 3 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) hours.


This content was created by Dr Mark Fulcher MBChB, MMedSci, FACSEP.  It has been updated by Dr Helen Joyce Fulcher MBChB, DipPaed, PGCertHSc (Sports Med), in 2017.

The material is presented by the Goodfellow Unit (GFU), an accredited continuing medical education/ continuing professional development (CME/CPD) provider for the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners and functions under a tripartite agreement between the Goodfellow Foundation, the College and the University of Auckland. The Unit is located within the Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, and within the School of Population Health.


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