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Anterior Cruciate Ligament

Larry J. Petterborg, PhD
Jennifer Beasley, MS, PT
Alison Gooch, MS, PT


This case is to educate health care providers about the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Each year, about 100,000 people sustain ACL injuries with those involving basketball, soccer, skiing, and gymnastics having the highest incidence. This case discusses the diagnosis, functional anatomy and biomechanics of the knee, surgical intervention, and three rehabilitation protocols.


  • To familiarize the learner with the prevalence, etiology, and differential diagnosis of ACL injuries.
  • To review relevant functional anatomy and biomechanics of the knee.
  • To determine the indications for surgical intervention.
  • To discuss current evidence for accelerated vs. non-accelerated rehabilitation protocols.
  • To present sample treatment progressions in the three phases of rehabilitation.
  • To examine medical and physical therapy records of an ACL patient.

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Last Update: Nov 29 2012