How To Avoid Re-Injuring Your ACL

How To Avoid Re-Injuring Your ACL

ACL tears are common knee injuries, especially among athletes and weekend warriors. ACL injuries can range in severity, but most involve near or complete tears of the ligament.

Not all ACL injuries require surgical repair, even when they involve a tear. But this treatment option typically provides the best chance for returning the ligament to its pre-injury state. 

Dr. Jared Tadje specializes in sports medicine, ACL reconstruction, and arthroscopic surgery at Tadje Orthopaedics in Meridian, Idaho.

If you injured your ACL, Dr. Tadje recommends taking these steps to avoid re-injury in the future.

See a specialist

Your ACL — or anterior cruciate ligament — connects your thighbone to your shinbone. Think of it like a strap inside your knee that holds these bones together and keeps the joint from rotating or bending too much.

When pushed beyond its natural limit, this strap can stretch or tear, interfering with its ability to function properly.

Up to 200,000 Americans tear their ACL each year — an injury that’s often impossible to miss.

Common signs of an ACL tear include:

These injuries are also most common during physical activity and sports, car accidents, and falls. 

It’s also common for at least half of ACL injuries to come with additional knee damage, especially to the meniscus, articular cartilage, or other ligaments in the area.

If you think you have an ACL injury, it’s essential to see a specialist like Dr. Tadje. An expert orthopaedic surgeon can assess the severity of damage and make the best recommendations to ensure you heal successfully.

Understand your nonsurgical and surgical treatment options

An ACL can’t heal on its own, but not all injuries require surgical repair.

Instead, Dr. Tadje makes recommendations on a case-by-case basis, depending on the amount of damage and your overall goals.

For instance, mild sprains and low-grade tears often improve with nonsurgical solutions, like orthobiologic injections and physical therapy. 

But Dr. Tadje usually suggests surgical repair for more extensive damage. It’s also the best option for people who want to restore full function to the knee and remain physically active.

Repairing a torn ACL also reduces the risk of developing additional damage in the knee for both young people and adults.

Follow your rehabilitation plan

Finally, if you want to avoid re-injuring your ACL, follow Dr. Tadje’s rehabilitation strategy.

Rehab programs vary from patient to patient, based on the severity of injury and course of treatment, but ACL recovery always requires some downtime. 

That doesn’t mean you’re stuck on the couch. Instead, you undergo physical therapy with special exercises to restore strength, range of motion, and the ability to balance on the affected knee.

In most cases, you should start to notice significant improvement with a surgically repaired ACL by the three-month mark. Even so, you still have a ways to go. 

It often takes 6-9 months for an ACL to completely heal, and you can’t resume regular activity until it does. Pushing the timeline is a sure way to re-injure the ligament.

Whether you have a small tear or extensive damage, Dr. Tadje monitors your progress. This ensures you know when it’s safe to resume activity.

Most ACL injuries won’t end your career or even keep you from your favorite activities forever. But rushing your recovery or skimping on your rehabilitation plan can put you on the path to re-injury.

Did you injure your ACL? Don’t wait to seek expert care. Contact us at Tadje Orthopaedics in Meridian, Idaho, to schedule a consultation today

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