How Long Can You Wait Until You Get Surgery After Tearing Your ACL?

Everyone is different; every injury is different. Your doctor is the best person to take advice from. People who have suffered from the same injury can tell you about their experience and give their opinion, but these should be taken as suggestions. Some people can’t walk without pain or weakness after tearing their ACL. Some people feel fine and can barely believe they completely tore their ligament. If you are someone who retains knee stability, even when being active, you can wait forever to have surgery on your joint. There is the danger of further injury to your knee, but wearing a knee brace can minimize this risk. Remember, though, that an ACL cannot heal itself, and the only way to repair the damage is through surgery.

Right after the injury happens, your knee will swell, hurt, and feel weak. Much of the pain might disappear along with the swelling. There could be bruising inside the knee, and this will heal. The ligament is the only thing that will not heal.

ACL Surgery Recovery

ACL Surgery Recovery

There are four ligaments which work together to stabilize your knee. Often more than one is damaged when you injure your knee, but not always. The ACL is the Anterior Cruciate Ligament. “Cruciate” means cross. It is called this because it crosses the PCL (Posterior Cruciate Ligament) and forms an “X”. They get their names from where they attach to the tibia, which is your shin bone. There are also two collateral ligaments. The MCL (Medial Collateral Ligament) runs along the inside of the knee, and the LCL (Lateral Collateral Ligament) is on the outside of the knee. If you have only damaged your ACL, you still have the other ligaments working to stabilize your knee. Ligaments are very strong, and if you have strong muscles around your knee you have those stabilizing your knee as well. The thigh muscles play a significant part in keeping your knee from shifting, rotating, and hyper-extending.

A large portion of people who initially decide against surgery, or decide to wait, eventually do get the surgery done because of the instability of their knee. Having one torn ligament heightens the chance of damaging another, since the other ligaments have to do extra work. You also increase the chance of developing osteoarthritis. If you have any pain in your knee it will naturally contribute to decreased movement. Decreased movement can contribute to muscle weakness. Muscle weakness contributes to the vulnerability of your ligaments. This is a cycle you want to break before it even starts. If you have any pain in your knee, go for the surgery option as soon as possible. If you don’t have pain, you can wait as long as you want, or never get the surgery at all, but you would be wise to wear a knee-brace for physical activity. Wearing a knee-brace is not something you want to do at all times. A support like this will strengthen when used intermittently, but if you use it all of the time your body starts to rely on it, which actually weakens the joint further.



A torn ACL does not require immediate surgery. Doctors will often advise that children who suffer this injury wait until puberty to get the procedure done. They are still growing and this can cause complications. If they decrease their involvement in sports which are hard on the knees and wear a knee brace when physically active, they can wait for the surgery. Adults who decide to wait for the surgery should do these things as well. Keeping your leg muscles strong, especially your thigh muscles, while waiting for surgery will help you recover more quickly afterwards. The best long-term outcomes of recovery from an ACL tear have been from treatment involving an early surgery.

The Top 5 At Home Exercises
I did that helped get me walking 4 days after surgery

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