ACL Surgery, At-Home Treatment and Recovery Time

What can I do to treat my ACL tear?

An ACL tear is a serious knee injury associated with chronic knee pain. There are few things you can do on your own to completely heal a ligament tear without ACL surgery. However, you can care for this knee injury and prevent it from tearing even more. From home, treatment for an ACL tear includes:

  • Reducing the amount of swelling with an ice pack for your knee
  • Resting and elevating your knee. Do not put any pressure on the injured knee.
  • Taking over-the-counter pain relief medicine like ibuprofen.
  • Avoiding any stress, bending or movement of the hurt knee.

Patients can temporarily care for their ACL tear, but it is recommended to see an orthopedic doctor who can diagnosis the problem and treat it. ACL injuries can continue to tear if they are not appropriately cared for.

What if I need further treatment for my ACL tear?

If a patient needs further treatment for their ACL tear, they should first see an orthopedic doctor. The orthopedic doctor will examine the knee and schedule an x-ray. An x-ray and other forms of imaging will show exactly where the ACL tear is and how severe the injury is. An orthopedic specialist may suggest treatment options for ACL tears such as:

  • Bracing the knee for several weeks
  • Physical therapy that targets the knee after bracing
  • Surgical reconstruction of the ACL

ACL reconstruction can be performed by using the patient’s own tissue during surgery. Patients who wish to return to sports and high-energy activities are recommended to undergo ACL reconstruction surgery.

How do I recover after an ACL tear?

After an ACL tear, patients will need time to rest and rebuild their strength. Months of resting the ACL tear can lead to a full recovery, but also muscle loss. It is important to work with your orthopedic surgeon and physical therapist to plan a workout regimen for your knee after ACL surgery. Recovery after an ACL tear can range from six months to one year.