Surgical reconstruction is indicated in individuals who wish to return to pivoting type sports, and for those who have problems with giving way during day-to-day activities. We have previously outlined how repeated giving way of the knee may lead to damage of other structures within the knee and it is this repeated giving way that is bad for the knee. Reducing the repeated giving way can be achieved by either avoiding pivoting activities, using an ACL specific sports brace or by reconstructing the ligament.
The decision to undergo reconstruction depends on weighing up all the relevant factors including the degree of instability of the knee and the sporting aims and aspirations of the individual.
For the individual who just wants to get back to light gym work, outdoor walking or skiing for example, surgery may not be required and the knee may feel stable enough after a period of rehabilitation or use of a special ACL brace. However, for a young keen sportsperson we know that there is a very high risk of sustaining further injury to the other structures in the knee after returning to sport with an ACL deficient knee, and therefore the stabilisation surgery is encouraged.