Getting Back to Your Sport After an ACL Tear

Getting Back to Your Sport After an ACL Tear

Whether you're an athlete or a weekend warrior, you don’t want a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) that will slow you down and keep you from participating in your sport. Fortunately, with the right treatment and rehabilitation protocol, a full recovery is possible.

Dr. Jeremy Woodson and our highly trained staff provide state-of-the-art and proven treatments to treat a variety of orthopedic issues at our private practice in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Whether you have an ACL tear, a torn rotator cuff, or another problem, we can diagnose your ailment and provide a personalized treatment plan for the best and fastest recovery.

ACL tears 101

ACL tears are a common type of knee injury, affecting anywhere from 100,000-200,000 people in the United States each year. It occurs when there is either a partial or complete tear in the knee's front ligament that attaches the thigh bone to the shin bone.

This kind of injury frequently afflicts athletes who play sports like basketball, football, soccer, and volleyball that require sudden starts, stops, and changes in direction. Others at risk include people who work physically demanding jobs that involve climbing, jumping, or pivoting.

Symptoms include pain, tenderness, and decreased range of motion in the knee. Swelling can also begin immediately or up to six hours after the injury occurs. Other signs could be a pop in the knee or a feeling like the knee is giving out.

Diagnosis and treatment

To reach a diagnosis, our team will take a medical history and perform a physical exam. An X-ray or MRI may also be performed.

Treatment varies depending on the severity of the injury and the goals of the individual. Some people use the "RICE" protocol consisting of rest, ice, compression, and elevation, along with bracing and physical therapy.

Many people choose to undergo minimally invasive surgery that provides a complete return to sports and a fully active life, along with less likelihood of re-injuring the knee.


Typically people who undergo ACL surgery can go home the same day. Instructions include keeping the leg elevated, using ice to reduce swelling, and rest. Over-the-counter pain medications can help with discomfort. In some cases, stronger pain medication may also be prescribed. You’ll need crutches for a while and will need to wear a brace. 

Physical therapy is an essential component of a full recovery. Within the first several days after surgery, easy range-of-motion and gentle strengthening exercises will be started. Over time, these routines will become more rigorous, and balancing exercises will be added. After several months, we will show you more challenging exercises like jumping, hopping, and other agility movements. The average time for a full recovery is between six and nine months.

If you’re experiencing knee problems, we can help determine the treatment path that's right for you. Call our office today at 405-233-3602.

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