Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of four knee ligaments that connect the upper leg bone (femur) with the lower leg bone (tibia) by running crosswise inside the center of the knee joint. The ACL stabilizes knee movement in a forward and backward direction.

Specifically, the ACL prevents the tibia from sliding forward or turning inward when the leg is straight and prevents the knee from being stretched or straightened beyond its normal limits (hyperextended). It also supports other knee ligaments that keep the knee from bending sideways.

Last Updated: May 16, 2008

Author: Shannon Erstad, MBA, MPH

Medical Review: Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & William M. Green, MD - Emergency Medicine & Freddie H. Fu, MD - Orthopedic Surgery & Patrick J. McMahon, MD - Orthopedic Surgery

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