The conservative treatment of complete tears of the anterior cruciate ligament in skeletally immature patients

J Bone Joint Surg Br. 1995 Nov;77(6):890-4.


We describe the results of conservative treatment for complete midsubstance tears of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in 18 skeletally immature patients, followed for a minimum of 36 months. Six patients had an ACL reconstruction during the follow-up period and were assessed immediately before their operation. The average time from initial injury to evaluation was 51 months. All patients had symptoms when reviewed. The modified Lysholm knee score showed one excellent result, one good, eight fair, and eight poor with a mean score of 64.3. Only one patient had returned to her preinjury level of athletics. Secondary meniscal tears were confirmed in six patients, and three more had the clinical signs of a tear at follow-up. Radiological evidence of degenerative changes was found in 11 of the 18 patients. We conclude that the results of non-operative treatment for ACL injuries in this age group are poor and not acceptable.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / surgery
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries*
  • Athletic Injuries / complications
  • Athletic Injuries / diagnosis
  • Athletic Injuries / therapy*
  • Braces
  • Casts, Surgical
  • Child
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Joint Instability / etiology
  • Knee Joint / diagnostic imaging
  • Male
  • Menisci, Tibial / surgery
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology
  • Radiography
  • Tibial Meniscus Injuries
  • Weight-Bearing