Anterior Cruciate Ligament Rupture and Osteoarthritis Progression

James Min-Leong Wong*, 1, Tanvir Khan 1, Chethan S Jayadev 2, Wasim Khan 3, David Johnstone 4
1 Chase Farm Hospital, The Ridgeway, Enfield, Middlesex, EN2 8JL, UK
2 Botnar Research Centre, Institute of Musculoskeletal Sciences, Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences, Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, Windmill Road, Oxford, OX3 7LD, UK
3 University College London Institute of Orthopaedics and Musculoskeletal Sciences, Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Stanmore, Middlesex, HA7 4LP, UK
4 Stoke Manderville Hospital, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP21 8AL, UK

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© Wong et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Chase Farm Hospital, The Ridgeway, Enfield, Middlesex, EN2 8JL, UK; Tel: 0061422049815; E-mail:


Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) rupture is a common sporting injury that frequently affects young, athletic patients. Apart from the functional problems of instability, patients with ACL deficient knees also develop osteoarthritis. Although this is frequently cited as an indication for ACL reconstruction, the relationship between ACL rupture, reconstruction and the instigation and progression of articular cartilage degenerative change is controversial.

The purpose of this paper is to review the published literature with regards ACL rupture and the multifactorial causes for osteoarthritis progression, and whether or not this is slowed or stopped by ACL reconstruction.

There is no evidence in the published literature to support the view that ACL reconstruction prevents osteoarthritis, although it may prevent further meniscal damage. It must be recognised that this conclusion is based on the current literature which has substantial methodological limitations.

Keywords: Anterior cruciate ligament, anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction, cartilage damage, knee surgery, meniscus, osteoarthritis.