Can an ACL Tear Heal on its Own?

Can an ACL Tear Heal on its Own?

Your ACL is one of the crucial components of your knee, as it’s the ligament that connects your femur to your tibia. The role of your ACL is to stabilize your knee joint by keeping your tibia from moving forward and rotating to the side.

If you're an athlete or are active, you're at risk for an ACL injury. Dr. Nabil Ebraheim and the team at the University of Toledo Physicians in Toledo, Ohio, provide you with the expert care you need after an ACL tear.

Dr. Ebraheim is an experienced orthopedic surgeon who offers several treatments based on the severity of your knee injury and your lifestyle.

Types of ACL tears

Your ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament, is one of the essential structures in your knee joint. Your ACL lies in the front of your knee, directly in the center of your joint. Along with your posterior cruciate ligament, lateral collateral ligament, and medial collateral ligament, your ACL stabilizes your knee.

The ACL is a tough ligament but is prone to injury, especially when you play sports requiring sudden stops or changes in direction. There are three main types of ACL injuries:

Grade 1

A grade 1 sprain happens when your ACL stretches past its normal range but still can keep your knee joint stable.

Grade 2

A grade 2 sprain is the least common ACL injury. It occurs when your ACL stretches too far and it's incredibly loose. This injury also causes your ACL to tear partially.

Grade 3

A grade 3 ACL injury is the most severe, as it causes your ACL to tear entirely in half. You'll require surgery to repair a grade 3 injury.

You'll likely know immediately if you've injured your ACL. Common symptoms related to this injury include the following:

If you have any of these symptoms, stop what you're doing and seek medical treatment. If you let your injury go, you risk more damage to your knee joint.

Can your ACL tear heal by itself?

The quick answer to this question is no, your complete ACL tear can't heal independently. However, if you have a grade 1 ACL injury, you may be able to rehabilitate it through bracing and physical therapy.

However, if your ACL tears either partially or entirely, you may need surgery to return to your normal activities. Dr. Ebraheim evaluates your injury and orders imaging studies to determine the extent of damage to the ligament and surrounding structures.

You only need surgery if you're active or involved in sports or intense physical activity. If your ACL tear doesn't affect your day-to-day activities, Dr. Ebraheim suggests conservative treatments to ease your discomfort.

Without treatment, your ACL won't repair itself, and you'll have instability in your knee joint.

Treatments for ACL tears

After injuring your knee and suspecting an ACL tear, stop activity and take the weight off the injured knee. You should also apply ice to the injured knee, avoiding putting the ice directly on your skin.

The next step is elevating your knee or wrapping it in a compression wrap to keep the swelling down. These steps are crucial in managing your pain and keeping the swelling and inflammation to a minimum.

You'll need to seek treatment from Dr. Ebraheim if you're active and want to return to your normal activities after an ACL injury. Your ACL can’t repair itself, meaning you'll either need conservative treatment or surgery to regain normal function.

At your appointment, Dr. Ebraheim evaluates your knee to determine the severity of your ACL tear. He orders imaging studies like an X-ray or MRI to visualize any other damage to the structures in your knee.

He then determines what type of surgery is best for you based on your activity level and other damaged tissues in your joint.

You'll need extensive rehabilitation after ACL surgery to help regain your knee strength and improve your balance and stability. Dr. Ebraheim and the team are here for you every step of the way to ensure your success.

If you've injured your ACL and need fast treatment, don't hesitate to call our office at 419-383-3761, or request an appointment with Dr. Ebraheim online. You can also learn more about ACL injuries on our YouTube channel.

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