Isolated tear of the anterior cruciate ligament: 5-year follow-up study

Am J Sports Med. May-Jun 1976;4(3):95-100. doi: 10.1177/036354657600400301.


During the period 1967 to 1971, 64 cadets at the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York, had surgical repair for isolated tear of the anterior cruciate ligament. In a 5-year follow-up study to determine the functional impairment, present disability, and reinjury to the knee, 32 of the 64 patients were located and evaluated by radiographic examination and either by interview or by questionnaire. Twenty-two were commissioned to full duty. 23 had attended ranger or airborne school, and 16 had been in combat. Impairment of ordinary activities was noted by 12 and impairment of athletic endeavors by 24; pain by 71%; swelling by 66%; stiffness by 71%; and instability by 94%. Seventeen of the 32 had had a significant reinjury after the repair of the anterior cruciate ligament. Clinically, we can diagnose the isolated tear of the anterior cruciate ligament by four essential ingredients--a pop at time of injury, inability to continue participation, gross swelling of knee, and maximal swelling within 12 hr. The mechanism of injury is usually deceleration and change of direction, not contact with another player. The follow-up study on this small series indicates that the patients have progressive deterioration of the knee.

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries* / surgery
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Knee Injuries* / diagnosis
  • Knee Injuries* / surgery
  • Ligaments, Articular / injuries*
  • Ligaments, Articular / surgery
  • Male
  • Military Medicine