Forty-six patients were entered into a prospective clinical and stress radiographic study done to assess the value of acute surgical treatment of injuries to the knee ligaments sustained during sports activities. After an average follow-up period of 5 1/2 years (range 4-6 1/2 years) medial instability was found only in two patients, both of whom were in the group with isolated rupture of the medial collateral ligament. Nine of the 29 patients in this group developed rotatory instability, but it was moderate and did not give rise to symptoms. Among the 17 patients with either injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament or combined injuries, anterior drawer instability persisted in seven, with an insufficient functional result in five. None of these 17 patients were able to resume competitive sport. Those patients who had not exercised physically just before the injury proved to have a significantly greater total instability than those who had. Therefore, routine limbering-up is recommended before sports activities.
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