Can a Ruptured ACL Be Healed Without Surgery? Study Says Yes

At Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, where we are committed to healing spinal and musculoskeletal injuries with nonsurgical treatment, we are elated to see that a recent study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine reports that some ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries show better patient-reported outcomes for those who received exercise rehabilitation than by those who had ACL reconstruction surgery. If you have suffered a torn ACL, or suspect that you have, contact us now for consultation.

Our physiatrists pride themselves on our cutting-edge diagnostic methods and a broad range of holistic treatments, both traditional and complementary, that combine therapies for optimal results. We use not only customized physical therapy as described in the study, but platelet-rich plasma (PRP), corticosteroid/analgesic injections, pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy, acupuncture, and injections of hyaluronic acid to lubricate the knee joint. These treatments accelerate healing by increasing blood flow and relieving pain and inflammation.

What Are the ACLs and What Do They Do?

Like other ligaments, the ACLs (one at each knee) are ropes of muscle that attach one bone to another. Each connects your femur (thigh bone) to your tibia (shin bone), helping to stabilize your knee joints. Whether due to a sports injury or another type of accident, a torn ACL makes your knee unstable and unable to support your weight as you try to stand or walk.

Remarkable Results of the Study

The study in question, led by Dr. Stepanie Filbay of the University of Melbourne, chose random patients with ACL ruptures for either [1] early ACL reconstruction [2] nonsurgical rehabilitation, or [3] optional delayed surgery. Participants in the study were active adults, ages 18 to 35, but not professional athletes.

Surprisingly, the study found that 53 percent of patients whose ACL ruptures were treated with rehabilitation alone decided against having the surgical procedure, and showed signs of ACL healing as early as three months after the injury.

Two years post-surgery, their ACLs had completely healed as visualized on MRI scans. Not only that, but these patients reported better functionality in sports and recreational activities and improved quality of life compared to patients who had received either early or delayed ACL reconstruction surgery.

More than that, two years after their ACL ruptures, a significant majority of the group of participants who received rehabilitation (63 to 94 percent) expressed feeling satisfied with their symptoms, function, and quality of life compared to those in both of the reconstruction surgery groups (29 to 61 percent).

Contact Our Experienced Doctors to Evaluate You for Nonsurgical ACL Treatment

While in some cases ACL injuries do require surgical repair, as the above study demonstrates, many do not. The evidence cited validates our premise that a high proportion of ACL injuries can be healed without invasive intervention. If you are suffering the pain and restricted mobility caused by an ACL tear, why not find out if you can avoid the trauma, risks, and possible complications of ACL surgery? Contact our talented doctors today.