Do I Have to Have ACL Surgery?
Advice on how to decide if you should have ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) surgery
Kathy Weber, M.D., M.S.
Director of Primary Care Sports Medicine
Rush University Medical Center
I tore my ACL, but don’t want to have reconstructive surgery. Are there any changes that I need to make in my lifestyle, exercise routine etc, that I could do to help?
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is required to prevent knee instability during cutting and twisting activities. These types of activities include, but are not limited to, dancing, basketball, soccer, and skiing. Daily activities such as turning corners or twisting coming off a curb or step may cause the knee to twist and may result in an instability episode. If you chose not to have an ACL reconstruction you will need to avoid these types of activities or wear an ACL brace during activity that puts your knee at risk for an instability episode. It is important to work with a physician and a physical therapist to develop a specific strengthening program to help prevent future instability. However, if instability episodes occur despite compliance with your strengthening program reconstructive surgery should be reconsidered since recurrent instability puts the knee at risk for further internal damage.