Can an ACL Tear Heal on Its Own?

Can an ACL Tear Heal on Its Own?

No one likes the idea of undergoing surgery, so it's no surprise when someone is concerned after experiencing a tear of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Fortunately, often this injury can heal without significant intervention.

At our private practice in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Dr. Jeremy Woodson and our highly skilled team provide state-of-the-art services for men, women, and children. We personalize our proven treatments for injuries, such as a torn ACL, and preventive care plans, tailoring them to the individual no matter their activity level.

What is the anterior cruciate ligament?

The anterior cruciate ligament is one of several strong bands of tissue in the knee that joins the thigh bone to the shinbone. It also aids in holding the knee in place and stabilizing the joint.

Injuries to the ACL often occur when playing sports or participating in other fitness activities that cause stress on the knee. Examples of movements that can injure the ACL include suddenly slowing down and changing direction or stopping, pivoting without moving the foot, and landing wrong after a jump. Trauma can also damage the ACL.

Symptoms of an ACL tear

Symptoms of an ACL tear can include significant pain, rapid swelling, and limited range of motion. There may be a loud popping sound or feeling in the knee as well. Some people also experience the knee feeling unstable or giving way when weight is put on it.


The good news is that not everyone requires surgery to treat an ACL tear. In many cases, it can heal on its own. 

Immediately after the injury, begin the R.I.C.E. protocol, which includes rest, applying ice for at least 20 minutes every two hours when awake, wearing a compression wrap or elastic bandage around the knee, and elevating the knee on pillows as much as possible.

Physical therapy is often recommended and typically includes exercises to strengthen muscles, decrease pain and swelling, and restore the full range of motion. In some cases, a brace or crutches may be recommended to help stabilize the knee and avoid putting weight on it while it heals.

Surgery is often only necessary if the damage to the knee is particularly significant or if you are a serious athlete.

Whether you have a tear in your ACL or another type of knee injury, getting a proper diagnosis and treatment plan is essential to recovery. Call our office today at 405-233-3602 to make an appointment. You can also reach out using this website.

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