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Can an ACL Tear Heal on Its Own?

Can an ACL Tear Heal on Its Own?

As an athlete, you rely on your knees for every step, jump, and change in direction. Your knee is a complex joint held together by fibrous bands of tissue, but unfortunately, these tissues are susceptible to injury.

Your anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is an essential part of your knee joint. It connects your thigh bone and your shin bone and gives stability to your knee, but ACL tears are some of the most common sports injuries among athletes of all ages.

An ACL injury feels like a pop in the joint. It causes knee pain, swelling, and loss of mobility. Suffering an ACL injury can quickly take you out of the game, but what happens next?

Will your ACL tear heal on its own? All ACL injuries require professional orthopedic care to heal properly. At Manhattan Orthopedics, our doctors provide comprehensive diagnostic services and treatment for ACL tears, so you can get back to your life faster.

However, the type of treatment you’ll need depends on the severity of your injury. Here’s what you need to know.

Diagnosing your ACL injury

ACL injuries are often but not always characterized by a popping sound or sensation at the time of injury. Immediately afterward, you may start to notice pain, swelling, joint instability, and restricted mobility in your knee.

If you think you have an ACL injury, it’s important to get a medical evaluation. Our team specializes in ACL injuries, and we can confirm your injury with a comprehensive exam and an MRI. We may order X-rays to rule out fracture or other types of injury.

ACL injuries are categorized by severity. Grade 1 injuries are mild sprains without any tearing. Grade 2 injuries are more severe sprains that represent a partial tear. Grade 3 injuries are the most severe and involve a complete tear of the ligament.

Once we reach a diagnosis, we develop a customized treatment plan to help your ACL heal as quickly as possible. 

Healing your ACL injury

When we create your treatment plan, our orthopedic team considers your injury and your lifestyle. Patients with mild injuries or those who live fairly sedentary lifestyles typically benefit the most from nonsurgical care. Patients with severe injuries, athletes, and those who live active lifestyles may require surgery to regain full functional use of their knee.

Conservative treatment for ACL injuries

You may be a candidate for conservative ACL treatment if you have a Grade 1 or Grade 2 ACL injury. Typically, conservative care starts with a period of rest. We may give you instructions to ice your knee for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day.

Knee bracing or compression can help limit instability and reduce swelling. As you begin to heal, we may prescribe physical therapy and rehabilitation exercises to build strength in your knee.

Surgical care for ACL injuries

Certain ACL injuries may require orthopedic surgery. Our team may recommend surgery if you have a Grade 3 ACL injury, you’re an athlete, or you have an ACL injury in combination with other knee injuries, such as a meniscus tear.

We perform minimally invasive arthroscopic ACL reconstruction at Manhattan Orthopedics. The procedure involves implanting a new tissue graft to recreate the ligament.

After surgery, you will need physical therapy to promote healing. With proper care, it’s possible to make a safe return to your favorite activities after suffering an ACL tear.

Don’t let your ACL injury keep you on the sidelines. Book an appointment at Manhattan Orthopedics for personalized care that gets you back to your life faster. Call our offices in Manhattan, Astoria, or Brooklyn, New York, or request an appointment online now.

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