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Will My ACL Tear Heal on Its Own?

Your knees are a vital part of many of the things you do every day. Whether you're an athlete or just an active person, any knee injury throws a wrench in your life. One of the more common of those injuries is an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear

At MidJersey Orthopaedics, our team tackles any type of knee problem. We have a skilled team of doctors and surgeons who help you navigate the potentially long road of an ACL injury. Whether you need conservative therapies or surgery, our team can help.

Causes of an ACL tear

Your knee is made of many different components that allow you to walk, run, and bend your leg. The parts of your knee not only include bone, but also connective tissues like ligaments and tendons. One of the main tendons in your knee joint is your anterior cruciate ligament, otherwise known as your ACL.

Your ACL is a thick and strong ligament that pitches in to give your knee joint stability. It attaches at your thigh bone and your shinbone, connecting them together at your knee. As you can imagine, this means some problems if the ligament becomes torn or injured.

Most of the time, an ACL tear occurs during sports activities, like basketball or soccer. This is because these sports require you to stop suddenly at times, among other awkward movements. Those movements can lead to the injury of your ligaments. 

Other causes of ACL tears include:

Any of these causes can lead to either a partial or complete tear of your ACL.

Symptoms you may experience

If you suffer an ACL injury, you’ll most likely know immediately that something is wrong. Many times, you’ll hear a popping noise or feel a pop in your knee.

There are other symptoms that you might experience, such as:

You might also be unable to move your knee normally. This is due to the rapid inflammation that occurs after the injury. If you suspect any kind of injury to your knee, be sure to get treatment at our facility as soon as possible.

At your appointment, we do a full examination of your knee and ask you about the events of the injury. If we suspect your ACL may be torn, we send you for imaging studies, like an MRI, to determine the extent of the injury and if any other tissues are involved. 

What are your treatment options?

If you have indeed suffered an ACL tear, the treatment depends on the severity of the tear and your normal activity level. Some ACL tears do have the ability to heal on their own

If we decide that you don’t need surgery to repair your ACL, treatment includes:

We may also recommend some anti-inflammatory medications to help decrease the inflammation in your knee. Although it’s not a quick fix, nonsurgical treatment of an ACL tear is successful if you’re a person of average activity levels, and you follow the treatment plan.

However, if you’re younger and an athlete with a tear that’s giving you instability of your knee, we may recommend a surgical procedure known as an ACL reconstruction. This surgery involves using either your own tissues or donor ligaments to reconstruct your ACL. It could take anywhere from six months to a year for you to get back to your normal activity level after surgery.

If you suspect you’ve torn your ACL and need treatment, call one of our offices in Flemington, Washington, and Bridgewater, New Jersey. You can also request an appointment right now using our handy online booking tool.

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