A knee injury should be treated immediately by a physician. An in-depth exam can help determine the extent of your injury and what tissues have been affected. In addition, it will allow you to choose the best treatment options. Continue reading to learn more about ACL repair.
Is it possible to heal an ACL tear without surgery?
It depends on the severity and nature of the tear. There is no one right way to decide when surgery is the best. Your trusted medical team will determine the best treatment. Low-grade tears usually heal quickly with conservative treatment. However, severe tears or instability of the knee will likely need surgery to restore normal knee function.
Non-Surgical Treatment for an ACL Injury
The least invasive treatment is recommended whenever possible. However, it doesn't matter how severe the injury is; conservative treatment is always the best option. You will get the best results no matter how traditional or invasive you go. This is where you need to start.
- Use RICE (rest ice, compression, and elevation) to keep swelling and pain under control. To allow healing to take place, Use Cold therapy and don't force the knee. Instead, resting your knees in a seated position would be best to heal properly. Finally, a Cold therapy pack can reduce swelling and knee pain.
- The best option to heal from an ACL injury is physical therapy. A physical therapist will evaluate your knee function and help you create a customized home program. They can also optimize your body's healing abilities with manual therapy, electrical stimulation, education, and manual therapy. A physical therapist can help you get back to your everyday life and take out the anxiety and uncertainty of healing.
Exercises for Strengthening
- The severity of your injury, the stage of healing, and the strength and flexibility of your knee will determine the exercises you can do with a torn ACL. There is always a delicate balance between recovery and maintaining knee function. The initial focus will be on strengthening the leg muscles, particularly in the quadriceps, and maintaining a gentle range of motion at the knee joints. As time passes, the exercises will become more functional weight-bearing movements and coordination to build knee stability.
- A well-fitted brace can help protect the knee and encourage movement earlier in life. On the other hand, it can boost excessive confidence, which could lead to too much activity. A brace for milder injuries can allow for a faster return and better knee support.
- A brace may be worn by athletes who are at high risk of injury in high-risk sports. For the best options, consult an orthopedist or physical therapist.
Torn ACL Recovery Time
Each person's prognosis and the healing time for a torn ACL are different. An ACL tear can occur with other injuries, such as patellar tendon or knee ligaments. You can expect a three-month to 6 month recovery period; You should ensure you maximize the treatment options mentioned above to return to your daily activities and routines comfortably.
Opting for ACL reconstruction can occur for many reasons. There are many reasons to consider ACL reconstruction. These include a severe tear, gross knee instability, high-risk activities, and a more active lifestyle. The procedure is performed under a microscope (which means there is minimal scarring) and can be used to reattach or replace the ACL (typically synthetic, hamstring or cadaver).
What to Expect after Surgery
Crutches are recommended during the first few weeks after ACL reconstruction surgery due to weakness and pain. Crutches can be used until your knee is strong enough to support the entire weight without limping. There may be restrictions on how much weight you can carry through the injured leg. Braces can be used to protect the knee from excessive ranges of motion, which could lead to damage to the healing ligament.
You can expect to feel some swelling or pain, no matter what. Follow your ortho surgeon's instructions. This includes the possible use of a brace and exercises.
How long does recovery take?
The average recovery time is six to nine months. However, most patients can walk within a few days of surgery. Physical therapy can be started immediately following surgery. It begins with pain management and a range of motion for the knees and then progresses to strengthening and functional activities, as needed. With physical therapy, you can expect to regain your knee function and return to previous activity levels.
ACL Recovery: Precautions
The key to your recovery success is restoring knee function while giving enough time for healing. You can use your symptoms to guide you throughout the healing process. For example, do not allow something to cause a significant increase in pain or instability in your knees. You can talk to your sports medicine physician or therapist about modifications.