Life After an ACL Tear

If you’ve torn your anterior cruciate ligament, better known as your ACL, you may be wondering what your life will look like after you’ve gotten treatment. An ACL tear can be a frightening injury, but with proper treatment and guidance, you should be able to return to most activities. 

If you have an ACL tear, Dr. J. Michael Bennett can give you a thorough evaluation and explain your treatment options. 

Treating your injury

Some ACL tears can be treated with physical therapy and rehabilitation, while others may require surgery to repair or reconstruct the ACL. Either path has its challenges. 

Nonsurgical treatment

If your ACL tear is not severe, Dr. Bennett will discuss nonsurgical options first. You may be able to help your knee heal by putting ice on it, wearing a compression wrap, and keeping your foot elevated.

You may also need to undergo a rehabilitation program, which will likely consist of strengthening and stretching exercises. At the least, you will likely have weekly appointments with a physical therapist for 3-6 months.

Surgical treatment

If your injury is severe or doesn’t respond to nonsurgical treatments, Dr. Bennett might recommend surgery. Surgery to repair a torn ACL involves removing your damaged ACL and replacing it with a tendon to give your knee improved stability. 

You may want to do some planning before your procedure. For example, if your home has stairs, you may need to set up a sleeping area on the main floor. Also, since you won’t be able to drive while wearing the brace, you may need to arrange for some help with transportation. 

Recovering after surgery

In the first days after ACL surgery, the goal will be to control the pain and swelling. Our staff will provide you with detailed care instructions, but the main thing to know is that you’ll need to rest, elevate your knee, and probably wear a brace. 

You’ll likely be able to begin using crutches and doing gentle range-of-motion exercises within 3-5 days after surgery. The first couple of weeks is considered the first phase of rehabilitation. 

The second phase usually begins 3-12 weeks after your procedure. You’ll begin to work more on exercises that will improve your range of motion, strength, and balance. 

Phase three is usually 3-6 months after your surgery, and it may include jumping and landing and other exercises. You will likely also be allowed to return to some low-risk activities, such as jogging or swimming. 

Life immediately after an ACL tear can be uncomfortable. But, with proper treatment, dedication to recovery, and time, you should be able to return to your normal activities and resume your life mostly as it was before your injury. 

If you have questions about ACL treatments and recovery, book an appointment online or over the phone with the office of Dr. J. Michael Bennett today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Sports Medicine Pre-Surgery Procedures

If you have surgery in your future, it’s not unusual to be a little anxious — and Dr. Bennett understands that. This post and the videos on our website can dispel your anxiety by helping you understand just what to expect.

You Don't Have to Live With Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is a common medical problem in the United States, and it gets even more common as you get older. The good news: Dr. Bennett offers an array of treatment options for chronic pain. Here’s how he can help you.

Who's At Risk for Shoulder Injuries?

Shoulder injuries aren’t uncommon, especially as you get older. But like other orthopedic issues, shoulder injuries tend to occur more often in people with specific risk factors. Find out what they are in this post.

Tips for Avoiding Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a major cause of wrist pain, especially among people who use their hands and wrists a lot. The good news is, there are a few simple things you can do to reduce your risks of CTS. Here are eight to get you started.

What is PRP and How Can It Benefit You?

Platelet-rich plasma, or PRP, offers plenty of benefits for people with sports injuries, joint damage, and other musculoskeletal problems. Here’s the scoop on this innovative and effective treatment, including how it’s “made” and what it treats.

What Every Athlete Should Know About Their ACL

ACL tears are among the most common knee injuries, affecting athletes of all ages and all levels. Knowing how the ACL “works” and how it’s injured might prevent injuries so that you can avoid the sidelines.