Torn ACL (cont.)

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How long does it take to recover from a torn ACL?

Rehabilitation and return to normal function after surgical repair of an ACL tear can take six to nine months. There needs to be a balance between trying to do too much work in physical therapy returning strength and range of motion and doing too little. Being too aggressive can damage the surgical repair and cause the ligament to fail again. Too little work lengthens the time to return to normal activities.

What is the prognosis of a torn ACL?

Most people who have surgery to repair their ACL have good return of function and lifestyle. Few patients develop permanent knee instability.

For patients who do not have surgery to repair a torn ACL, half have a fair outcome with no knee instability. This is an option for sedentary people or for those whose activities require no pivoting or cutting.

Can ACL tears be prevented?

ACL injuries usually occur in active people engaged in activities that are enjoyable. The risk of injury can potentially be decreased by maintaining muscle strength and flexibility. Warming up, stretching and cooling down are ways of protecting joints and muscles. Strengthening exercises and agility drills can help prevent injury. Plyometric exercises to help build power, strength, speed, and balance can teach the body how to jump and land properly to minimize the risk of injury. It is important to avoid landing on a fully extended and locked leg.

Medically reviewed by Aimee V. HachigianGould, MD; American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery


Buchholz, R.W., et al. Rockwood and Green's Fractures in Adults. 6th edition. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins, 2006.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/4/2015

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Torn ACL - Causes Question: Please discuss the cause of your torn ACL.
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