How Long Does an ACL Tear Take to Heal?

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears are among the most common musculoskeletal injuries in athletes and non-athletes alike. It occurs when the ACL—one of four main ligaments that secures the knee joint in place—is torn, often as a result of stopping quickly, landing from a jump awkwardly, or suddenly changing direction. If you’ve torn an ACL, you’re likely wondering how long it will take to recover and get back on the move.

Factors That Influence ACL Tear Recovery

As is the case with most injuries, ACL tear recovery time will vary considerably depending on factors like:

  • The extent and specific location of the tear (is it partially or completely torn?)
  • Your activity level and recovery goals
  • Your age and overall health
  • Your treatment plan (is surgery necessary?)
  • Adherence to your physician’s guidance

Generally speaking, surgically repaired ACL tears usually take six to nine months to heal. This typically includes several weeks or months of physical therapy—a regimen of strategic exercises and conservative techniques that help restore joint strength and range of motion. A longer recovery period may be recommended for athletes to ensure the knee joint can safely endure more rigorous activities.

ACL Tear Treatment Options

ACL surgery (ACL reconstruction) is often recommended for more extensive ACL tears, especially for individuals who are athletes or have multiple damaged knee ligaments. However, not every ACL injury requires surgery. Conservative methods like physical therapy, medication, bracing, and activity modification can promote healing and sometimes provide adequate relief from uncomfortable symptoms.

Our Approach to ACL Tear Treatment

Tampa Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Group provides advanced surgical and non-surgical care to patients with ACL sprains and tears. A division of Florida Medical Clinic and the longest-operating orthopedic clinic in Tampa, our practice is led by orthopedic sports medicine surgeon Dr. Daniel Murphy—a board-certified specialist who also serves on the medical staffs of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New York Yankees.

Dr. Murphy provides world-class orthopedic treatment, including regenerative medicines, to patients in collaboration with sports medicine physician Dr. Arnold Ramirez and several other specially trained practitioners. When ACL surgery is appropriate, Dr. Murphy leverages the latest minimally invasive techniques to achieve optimal outcomes with as little disruption to healthy tissues as possible. This results in less post-operative discomfort and a more rapid return to normal activities.

Contact Tampa Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Group today if you would like to learn more about our approach to ACL tear treatment, the recovery process, and our progressive treatment options. We serve adolescents, adults, and seniors in the Tampa area and accept most health insurance plans. If you have any questions about our services or how we’re keeping our patients and staff safe during the COVID-19 crisis, please don’t hesitate to give our team a call.