I’ve Torn My ACL, Now What?

injured soccer player with ball on football fieldA torn ACL is a diagnosis that no one wants to have. Studies estimate that between 100,000 and 200,00 people suffer the injury each year. A torn ACL can be particularly troublesome for athletes whose livelihoods often depend on their ability to play. Whether you’re an athlete or not, your priority is to get back in action after you’ve torn your ACL. 

Before you get concerned about your recovery, it’s crucial to understand the nature of your injury, your treatment options, and how to have confidence in your knee stability.

How Is a Torn ACL Diagnosed?

If you’re in the midst of activity and you hear or feel a sudden ‘pop’ in your knee, it’s time to see the doctor. During your exam, your doctor will compare the differences in your knees and check swelling, tenderness, and range of motion. Your doctor may call for an x-ray, MRI, or ultrasound to officially confirm the diagnosis.

How a Torn ACL Can Happen

There are many ways to tear your ACL. Any sport or fitness activity that involves sudden stopping, starting, and cutting movements puts you at greater risk.

These include:

  • Soccer
  • Football
  • Basketball
  • Skiing

It can also happen if you take a direct hit to your knee, land awkwardly, or try to pivot if your foot is planted firmly in the ground.

Treating a Torn ACL

Recovering from an ACL tear can be done with or without surgery. However, it depends on the severity of your case and age. 

If you want to take your time, you can opt for a conservative approach to your recovery. Non-surgical options involve wearing a brace and undergoing physical therapy to strengthen and stabilize your knee. 

 On the other hand, athletes may have to take more aggressive steps to get back in action as quickly as possible. Reconstructive surgery and physical therapy are primary tools in the recovery process.

The recovery time varies. Typical torn ACL recovery can last between 6 to 12 months, but it can take up to two years to get the knee back to full strength.

Trusting Your Knee Again

Surgery and physical therapy treat the tangible aspects of a torn ACL. However, regaining trust in the stability of your knee is a psychological battle and takes time to overcome. 

Putting your knee to the test after injuring your ACL can be nerve-racking. Following your doctor’s advice and not pushing yourself too hard are a solid foundation for regaining trust in your knee.

Do you have questions about an ACL injury? 

Schedule a consultation with us today by calling (508) 363-6363.

Posted in: ACL

Ask Dr. Desio

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.




123 Summer St.
Suite 520
Worcester, MA 01608

Tel: 508.363.6363

123 Summer St. Suite 520, Worcester, MA 01608 508.363.6363