ACL Tear - Recovery Tips
An ACL tear is a traumatic rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament in the knee often caused by a noncontact mechanism such as landing from a jump or planting the foot to change directions.
More Resources to Get Better
You might have a lot of questions about your ACL tear. These are some of the most common questions patients have.
Is there an optimal time to return to sports after an injury or surgery? In this Ask Dr. Geier video, I discuss how long an athlete can expect to miss after undergoing surgery for an ACL tear.
We know that a good percentage of athletes return to play sports after tearing their ACLs. They want to have the same speed, power and strength. How realistic is that goal?
This series explains the top 20 injuries suffered by athletes and active people.
How to get rid of pain, anxiety and frustration from your ACL injury.
That’s Gotta Hurt
The Injuries That Changed Sports Forever
Through the stories of a dozen athletes whose injuries and recovery advanced the field (including Joan Benoit, Michael Jordan, Brandi Chastain, and Tommy John), Dr. Geier explains how sports medicine makes sports safer for the pros, amateurs, student-athletes, and weekend warriors alike.Get the Book
Frequently Asked Questions on ACL Tear Injuries
- +What is this injury?
-What is this injury?An ACL tear is a traumatic rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament in the knee often caused by a noncontact mechanism such as landing from a jump or planting the foot to change directions.
- +What are the common treatments?
-What are the common treatments?When an athlete or active individual tears the ACL, the ligament does not heal on its own. That fact isn't really the reason orthopaedic surgeons often recommend ACL surgery. Without any intact ACL, a patient often notices that his knee buckles or gives way with activity. Landing from a jump or planting the foot to change directions can often be difficult and cause the knee to buckle. That instability is the main reason athletes who play sports that involve cutting and pivoting movements almost always require ACL reconstruction, or surgery to make a new ligament, to return to play. Some less active patients can return to activities without surgery by undergoing a course of physical therapy or wearing a knee brace.
- +How long could it take to recover?
-How long could it take to recover?Full recovery from ACL reconstruction, including regaining full knee motion and leg strength and restoring full function and control of the knee, can take six months or more. Many patients require a year or more to return to sports at the same level as before the injury.
- +What should I ask my doctor?
-What should I ask my doctor?It is always a good idea to ask if surgery is necessary and if there are nonsurgical treatment options that can be tried first. If you choose to undergo surgery, ask about your options for the graft, including autograft and allograft. Understanding what restrictions the surgeon will place after surgery and what you can safely do, such as driving and working, are important. Also ask when you could expect to safely return to your sport or exercise.