As an orthopaedic surgeon, it is really hard to tell an athlete or active person that he or she has suffered an ACL injury. The thought of missing the rest of the season, undergoing surgery, and facing months of rehab can devastate a patient, especially a younger one. What is the significance of a partial ACL tear? Does the patient need surgery for it, or can she rehab the knee and work back to sports?

Marc asks:

I have a question about my recently partially torn ACL. In January I was playing football on a turf field, and my knee kind of collapsed inside while making a cut. At first they said it was an MCL sprain, but after an MRI, it turned out to be a partial ACL and MCL tear.

It’s been two months and after my doctor did a bunch of tests, he said that my knee was stable. He said that I should try to gain my muscle in the knee back and start doing some physical activities to test it out.

I was just wondering how long it would take me to get back into football if I do not require surgery and just rehab the knee.
Thanks!

Over 100,000 patients undergo ACL reconstruction in the United States every year. If you are an athlete or perform activities that involve landing from jumps or quickly changing directions, the decision to undergo surgery for a complete tear is fairly straightforward. In this video, I discuss the options for evaluation and treatment of a much less common partial ACL tear.

Also read:
Ask Dr. Geier – Partial ACL Tears
ACL Tears – Graft Options

ACL injury illustration

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