ACL Treatment

Article by Zoe Russell

ACL Treatment

Introduction to ACL Treatment Options

The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) plays a vital role in stabilising the knee, collaborating with muscles, other ligaments, and joint receptors. Suffering an ACL injury often raises questions about the most effective treatment path.

acl treatment options
Acl Treatment Now Has Options

Can an ACL Heal without Surgery?

Traditionally, it was always thought that an ACL cannot heal on its own in the traditional sense because it lacks blood supply, which is crucial for the healing process of most tissues in the body.

However, not all ACL injuries require surgery, and some individuals may opt for non-surgical treatment methods with specific considerations.

Recent research has actually identified that some ACL injuries will repair when the tow ends of the torn ligament can be kept near each other. The Cross Brace technique is pioneering and in early stages of research, so stay tuned for future developments in non-surgical treatment options.

What is the Best ACL Treatment?

The best treatment for an ACL injury depends on several factors, including the severity of the injury, the individual’s activity level, age, overall health, and personal goals. Treatments range from non-surgical rehabilitation to surgical reconstruction of the ligament.

Here’s an overview of the most commonly recommended treatments:

  1. Early Surgical Reconstruction involves prompt surgical intervention soon after the injury, preferred by athletes aiming for a quick return to their sport.
  2. Delayed Surgical Reconstruction suggests waiting for at least three months of rehabilitation before considering surgery. Research shows this may improve long-term outcomes for those who are recreationally active.
  3. Non-Surgical Management offers a rehabilitation-focused approach, ideal for individuals based on their activity level and personal goals.
  4. ACL Cross Brace Option introduces a non-invasive support method during rehabilitation.

Research Insights for ACL Treatment

Studies, including those by Dr Adam Culvenor and colleagues, highlight that early surgery could accelerate kneecap cartilage loss, increasing the risk of arthritis in young adults.

Conversely, non-surgical management might equally preserve knee health and functionality, especially for non-athletes.

Factors Influencing Your Decision

The choice between surgery and rehabilitation hinges on age, activity level, knee stability, additional injuries, and personal ambitions. Younger, active individuals, particularly those engaged in high-impact sports, may benefit more from surgical options.

The Role of Physiotherapy in ACL Treatment

Physiotherapists are crucial in both pre-surgical preparation and post-injury recovery. At PhysioWorks, we tailor programs to your needs, ensuring progress through regular evaluations and specialist collaboration.

What’s New in ACL Treatment Research?

Ongoing research challenges old beliefs, promoting personalised treatment plans over a general approach. This shift underlines the importance of individual assessment in determining the best treatment strategy.

Long-term Considerations

Choosing non-surgical treatment requires careful consideration of future activity levels and the potential risk of further injury to the knee. In some cases, opting for non-surgical treatments initially does not preclude surgery in the future if the knee remains unstable or if the individual’s activity demands change.

What to Do? Seeking Professional Advice

Facing the decision between surgery or rehabilitation for an ACL injury warrants professional advice. Consulting with a physiotherapist and orthopaedic knee surgeon is crucial, as they can offer insights tailored to your situation and the latest findings.


Deciding on ACL surgery versus rehabilitation requires careful consideration of numerous factors, including recent studies, personal objectives, and professional guidance.

Related Articles

Explore these resources for more detailed information:

  1. ACL Injuries: This comprehensive guide covers the nature of ACL injuries, treatment options, and the critical role of rehabilitation, emphasising the latest research and physiotherapist insights. It’s a go-to resource for understanding ACL injuries from a professional perspective.
  2. ACL Injury Prevention: Highlights the importance of education and ACL injury prevention training. It notes a significant risk reduction in ACL injuries through specific training programs, particularly mentioning a study that showed a 52% risk reduction for females participating in an ACL injury prevention program.
  3. ACL Injury FAQs: Offers straightforward answers to common questions about ACL injuries, including symptoms, treatment options, recovery processes, and the consequences of not undergoing surgery. It emphasizes the need for professional advice for diagnosis and personalised treatment plans.
  4. What Is The Best Surgery for an ACL Tear?: Explores factors that determine the need for ACL surgery, taking into account the patient’s age, activity level, and expectations​​.
  5. Exploring the Potential of ACL Braces as a Treatment Option: Looks at how ACL braces can be part of a comprehensive treatment approach, including physiotherapy and surgical intervention​​.
  6. What If You Don’t Get ACL Surgery?: Discusses the non-surgical ACL approach and the importance of a rehabilitation program guided by a sports physiotherapist​​.
  7. Knee Pain: Causes, Relief, Physio & Prevention: Provides a broad overview of knee pain causes, including ACL injuries, and offers guidance on relief and prevention​​.
  8. Knee Ligament Injury – Physiotherapist Guide & Tips: Offers insights into knee pain, covering diagnosis, ligament issues, ACL injuries, meniscal injuries, and pain relief methods through exercise and treatment​​.
  9. Ligament Tear: Discusses various ligament injuries including ACL, PCL, MCL, and LCL sprains, and provides information on prevention, early detection, and effective treatment​​.
  10. Posterolateral Corner Injury Treatment & Recovery – Offers insights into knee pain, covering diagnosis, ligament issues, ACL injuries, meniscal injuries, and age and arthritis concerns. Learn about knee instability management.
You've just added this product to the cart: