Get Back in the Game Faster: What You Need to Know About Recovering From an ACL Sports Injury

Whether you made too sudden of a stop on the soccer field, changed directions too fast on the basketball court, or had a mishap while working out or at home, an ACL injury can significantly hamper your endeavors. Fortunately, receiving the proper treatment and taking the right steps during recovery can help you heal more quickly and get back to doing the activities you love.

Here at the office of Jeremy Woodson, MD, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Dr. Woodson and our highly trained staff provide cutting-edge treatments for a wide range of orthopedic ailments including ACL injuries.

Also known as the anterior cruciate ligament, the ACL is one of the primary ligaments in the knee that helps to stabilize it. An injury may come with a popping sound along with severe pain, swelling, and an inability to walk, among other issues. If you think you've damaged your ACL, getting the correct diagnosis is key as treatment recommendations can vary based on the severity of the injury.

ACL sprain recovery

An ACL sprain occurs when the ligament is stretched but not totally torn. Treatment typically includes the following:


This acronym stands for rest (including limiting the amount of weight-bearing done by your knees), ice, compression, and elevation. A brace and/or crutches may also be recommended.

Physical therapy

Physical therapy works to limit swelling and pain, strengthen the muscles, and restore your knee's full range of motion. A physical therapist will teach certain exercises under supervision and possibly at home.

ACL reconstruction recovery

For bad ACL tears or if it is ripped in half, reconstruction surgery may be the best treatment. Often this can be done with minimally invasive procedures like arthroscopic or robotic surgery. To ensure the fastest recovery, be sure to follow these tips:

Post-surgical physical therapy

A customized exercise program will be created for you depending on your age, current fitness and health levels, and your surgery. It is important to build strength and increase mobility.

Follow healthy habits

Healthy foods like lean protein, dairy, citrus, and vegetables can help aid in your body's healing. Limit or abstain from unhealthy habits like alcohol, soda, and caffeine.

Recovery happens during sleep so be sure to get at least eight hours a night. Relaxation is critical as well. If you're feeling anxious after the procedure try some relaxation exercises.

Take your medication as instructed

Discuss with Dr. Woodson any instructions for new medications prescribed including how much to take and how often. If you stopped taking other prescriptions before surgery ask when you should resume them.

Be aware

Watch out for concerning symptoms such as a sudden increase in pain, a fever, or anything else that doesn't feel right. Report them immediately.

Accept help

Mobility and daily activities will be more challenging during recovery so ask for help from family and friends.

If you have an issue with your ACL, call our office today at 405-233-3602 to get the right diagnosis and begin a recovery plan that's right for you.

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