Can I wear an ACL brace instead of having surgery for an ACL tear?

Over 100,000 people undergo surgery for ACL injuries every year. Is surgery absolutely necessary? Or can you avoid it and wear an ACL brace instead?

Mignonne asks:
I tore my ACL 10 years ago. I’m very active, though. I have stopped playing sports, which I love. When my knee feels strong, I have the “one off” game and inevitably injure the knee again. Now, at 49, and after another injury, I resent the fact that I can’t participate in sports. I’ve heard that reconstruction does not always work, in that the knee will always be vulnerable. Of course my age now is against me with NHS. Can you tell me whether braces work and if so, which ones? Would I be able to protect my knee wearing a brace?

In this Ask Dr. Geier video, I discuss who usually does and doesn’t need surgery. I also discuss the types of ACL brace a patient can try and how effective they might be.

Also read:
Ask Dr. Geier – Wearing a brace to play with an ACL injury
Ask Dr. Geier: Nonoperative treatment of ACL tears

Soccer player wearing an ACL brace