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ACL Tear Treatment

The ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament, is a structure within the knee that helps control movement and rotation of the knee joint. It is one of the most common knee ligaments to be injured and may be torn during a sudden, twisting movement of the knee.

ACL Tear Treatment: Why Choose Johns Hopkins

  • Whether you are a serious athlete determined to return to a sport, or you would just like to get back on your feet to take care of daily tasks, we are here to help you return to your ideal activity level. 
  • Our specialists will help you understand surgical and nonsurgical options, and help you choose the best treatment plan to meet your needs.
  • ACL surgery was once considered too risky in children who are still growing. Our specialists use new minimally invasive techniques to repair or replace knee ligaments with low risk to growing children and teens. 

ACL Tear Treatment Options

Treatment for ACL tears ranges from bracing and physical therapy to surgery, depending on your knee stability and your desired activity level.

Nonsurgical options

If you and your doctor decide against surgery, nonsurgical treatment options include:

  • Bracing: A brace can protect your knee from instability.
  • Physical therapy: Rehabilitation exercises can help you regain range of motion in the knee and strengthen the leg muscles that support the joint.

ACL Repair Surgery

If you choose to have ACL reconstruction surgery, the surgeon will replace the damaged ligament with a tendon, which is called a graft. This may be an autograft (using a tendon from your own knee) or an allograft (using a donor tendon).

Our specialists perform the procedure arthroscopically, threading the graft through a small hole in the knee.

After surgery, rehabilitation exercises will help you regain range of motion and strengthen the muscles that support the joint. Athletes commonly return to their sport between seven and nine months after surgery.

ACL Injuries | Q&A with Dr. Jay Lee

R. Jay Lee, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery’s Division of Pediatric Orthopaedics, discusses anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries. He explains how the injuries occur, signs and symptoms of an injury, treatment options and how to prevent an ACL injury.

ACL Surgery | Michelle's Story

While pivoting for a kick during a martial arts grading examination, Michelle felt a painful pop in her knee. Michelle went to her local doctor and learned she had torn her ACL. She knew that surgery was probably her only option to get back to her active lifestyle again. Michelle found comfort in Johns Hopkins, specifically sports medicine orthopaedic surgeon Andrew Cosgarea, M.D.


Our Specialists

Rely on the expertise of our physicians to help you manage your ACL tear.

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