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Non-Surgical ACL Tear or Injury Treatment

Some people may choose not to have surgery to repair their damaged ACL, or they may not be suited for surgery.

Doctors at UPMC Sports Medicine's ACL Program will decide if non-surgical treatment is right for you based on:

  • The type and extent of your ACL injury.
  • Any damage to surrounding tissues.
  • Your age and lifestyle.

Your UPMC Sports Medicine knee surgeon can guide you in deciding on ACL injury treatment. He or she will talk to you about the potential pros and cons of a non-surgical approach to your ACL injury.

For minor ACL injuries, protective braces and physical therapy to strengthen the muscles around the knee may be enough.

To treat a minor ACL tear, your doctor may suggest that you:

  • Apply ice to the knee a few times a day.
  • Prop the knee above the level of your heart.
  • Compress the knee with a bandage or wrap.
  • Reduce or stop activity for several weeks.
  • Take anti-inflammatory drugs — such as ibuprofen — to lessen swelling and speed up recovery.

While knee braces can provide extra support, research hasn't found them to prevent an ACL injury or reinjury.

How Long Will It Take for My ACL Injury to Heal?

How long you'll need treatment will vary based on the extent of your ACL injury and how well your body heals. Everyone is unique and heals at different rates.

Trying to do too much before your body is ready can lead to new injuries. It can also cause possible long-term problems like osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease.

If non-surgical treatments don't work or don't give your knee the stability you need, ACL surgery may be a better choice.

Discuss your treatment options and goals with your UPMC Sports Medicine care team. They can help you decide the proper treatment to get you back to your normal routine, quickly and safely.

Learn More About ACL Injury Treatment

Contact the UPMC Sports Medicine ACL Program today to learn more or make an appointment.