A total of 90 patients with an isolated rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) had a reconstruction using the ipsilateral patellar tendon secured with round-headed cannulated interference screws. Annual review for five years showed three failures of the graft (two traumatic and one atraumatic); none occurred after two years. Ten patients sustained a rupture of the contralateral ACL. At five years, 69% of those with surviving grafts continued to participate in moderate to strenuous activity. Using the International Knee Documentation Committee assessment, 90% reported their knee as being normal or nearly normal and had a median Lysholm knee score of 96 (64 to 100). Most patients (98%) had a pivot shift of grade 0 with the remaining 2% being grade 1; 90% of the group had a Lachman test of grade 0. The incidence of subsequent meniscectomy was similar in the reconstructed joint to that in the contralateral knee. Radiological examination was normal in 63 of 65 patients. Our study supports the view that reconstruction of the ACL is a reliable technique allowing full rehabilitation of the previously injured knee. In the presence of normal menisci there is a low incidence of osteoarthritic change despite continued participation in sporting activity.