The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) plays an important role in stabilizing the knee joint. When this ligament is torn, as commonly occurs during athletic activities, it can be very uncomfortable and may impact the overall functionality of the affected knee. The severity of one’s symptoms and their best path to recovery will depend heavily on whether their ACL is partially or fully torn, along with other individual factors. Today, we’ll focus on what a patient can generally expect in terms of how long to recover from partial ACL tear and what level of treatment might be needed.
How Long to Recover from Partial ACL Tear? What to Expect
When the ACL becomes stretched and loose but is not totally torn, this is known as a partial ACL tear. Depending on the specifics of the injury, a partial ACL tear may or may not cause knee instability. Either way, it is likely to result in pain, swelling and discomfort when walking.
From patient to patient, how long to recover from partial ACL tear can vary. With conservative treatment, it is possible for a partial ACL tear to be resolved – typically within a few weeks – without surgery. First-line treatment strategies for mild or moderate ACL damage might include:
- Taking anti-inflammatory medications as needed
- Performing physical therapy exercises to strengthen the knee and increase mobility
- Wearing a knee brace
If a patient’s partial ACL tear involves knee instability or occurs along with another injury, such as an MCL or meniscus tear, surgical reconstruction is more likely to be necessary. When surgery is needed, arthroscopic ACL reconstruction is typically the preferred method due its minimally invasive nature. As compared to traditional “open” surgery, this option is known to come with reduced scarring, minimized risk of side effects and a shorter, more comfortable recovery period.
Following ACL reconstruction surgery, patients should plan to wear a supportive brace & use crutches for around three weeks and to follow a physical therapy program for between 2-6 months.
See Dr. Soffer for World-Class Knee Care in Reading, PA
If you are experiencing symptoms of a torn ACL or another knee injury, you can depend on Dr. Stephen Soffer to provide expert diagnosis and treatment. Having completed rigorous training including a sports medicine fellowship with Dr. James Andrews, Dr. Soffer is one of the nation’s leading orthopedic specialists. He offers a full range of knee therapies, prioritizing conservative and minimally invasive treatment whenever possible. To arrange an appointment with Dr. Soffer at our office in Berks County, PA, call 610-375-4949.