How Long Does It Take To Recover From An ACL Tear?

If you are a sports fan or an athlete, the phrase “torn ACL” likely strikes fear in your heart. A torn or ruptured ACL is a common injury, but one that is not to be taken lightly. Here’s what you should know about this injury and its aftermath, including when orthopedic surgery is needed.

Orthopedic_SurgeryWhat is the ACL?

Your ACL, or Anterior Cruciate Ligament runs up your leg from your lower leg into your knee, and prevents your shinbone from shifting behind your thighbone. When this ligament is torn, usually by a bad twist or too-sudden change in direction during activity, your knee becomes unstable and may buckle. The tissues swell, becoming tender, painful and mobility is very difficult.

Treatment Options

For mild cases where the tear is slight and the patient is not a high-intensity athlete, a course of rest, ice, and physical therapy may be enough to help restore some strength to the knee. Conservative treatments may take a few months to recover whatever strength is possible, and provides an acceptable solution for about half of its patients.

For people who are very active or interested in maintaining their athletic career, orthopedic surgery is usually the best option. The patient regains stability and can participate in more aggressive activities after recovery. For patients opting for the orthopedic surgery path, a few weeks after the procedure will be needed to heal incisions and allow the mending of any ligaments and grafts used to make the repair. Once that initial healing has occurred, the hard work begins. The patient must go through an intensive course of rehabilitation to recover range of motion, and rebuild strength and stability in the vulnerable joint. This process can take up to nine months. The good news is that the majority of patients opting for this solution have great success and do not suffer permanent loss of knee stability.

ACL injuries are likely to end your season, if not your career if treated improperly. If you’ve incurred a knee injury, see an orthopedic surgeon immediately to discuss all available options and potential outcomes.

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