17 June 2019,

Does a torn ACL require surgery

A torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) may cause pain, swelling and/or a “popping” feeling in the affected knee. This common sports injury can make walking difficult or impossible. If ACL tear symptoms are severe enough to interfere with a patient’s daily life, the individual may decide to seek treatment from a sports medicine doctor. While exploring treatment options, a patient might wonder: Does a torn ACL require surgery?

The answer to this question will be different for every individual. For some patients with a torn ACL, conservative methods alone may allow for full recovery within 6-8 weeks. First-line treatments might include:

  • – Following the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression & Elevation) method
  • – Taking time off from activities
  • – Using a knee brace and/or crutches
  • – Performing physical therapy exercises
  • – Taking medications to help with pain and swelling


Generally speaking, nonsurgical treatments are more likely to be sufficient if the ACL is the only part of the knee that has been damaged, the patient is a low demand individual, not engaged in sports, under the age of 30 and not experiencing instability with activities of daily living.

Does a Torn ACL Require Surgery? When the Answer Might Be “Yes”

For young, active patients who wish to return to playing sports once they have healed from their knee injury, a sports medicine physician might recommend ACL reconstruction surgery. Surgery may benefit these patients by minimizing their chances of re-injuring their ACL and other structures within the knee and reducing their risk of developing knee arthritis later in life.

If surgery is necessary to fully repair an ACL tear and prevent further injury, the patient may be advised to wait until pain and swelling have subsided before undergoing ACL reconstruction. However, there are some cases in which surgery may be suggested sooner, such as if the ACL tear is accompanied by knee dislocation.

Dr. Stephen Soffer Offers Patient-Centered Knee Care in Reading, PA

Hopefully, this article has offered a clear explanation of why there’s no universal answer to “does a torn ACL require surgery?” If you are in need of treatment for an ACL tear or other sports injury, you can depend on Dr. Stephen Soffer to provide individualized, experience-backed care.

Whether you are a candidate for surgery or your injury can be managed conservatively, he will use the most advanced and least invasive treatment methods possible in order to get you back on your feet.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Soffer, call our office at 610-375-4949. We look forward to offering you expert orthopedic care and helping you make a complete recovery.

Print pagePDF pageEmail page

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *