YOUR ACL SPRAIN GUIDE

High%20Res%20Logo%20_square_edited.png

Physiobot. Joint pain questions, meet answers.

Additional general information on Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) sprains is available here.

NOTE
If you feel this is potentially a cruciate ligament injury, we highly recommend consulting with a clinician. To find a doctor or PT who accepts your insurance, our Physiobot Care Access Specialist is now available.
Telehealth options provided as well.

PROTECT THE LIGAMENT
Our main objective for ACL sprain recovery is simple - minimize strain on the ligaments. This allows inflammation to settle down and healing to begin.

REST
With that in mind, minimize activities that exacerbate your pain (running, squats etc.) Basically, if it hurts - back off. That doesn't mean to stop moving altogether. Short, frequent walks on flat ground should be performed as tolerated.

ICE OR HEAT
If you notice swelling, go with ice instead of hot packs. This is particularly important in the first 48-72 hours after the injury occurred. This will help soothe the inflammation, reduce stiffness and promote healing. You can learn more about correct icing techniques on our Icing Instructional Guide.

EXERCISES
Also begin a targeted ACL exercise program. Make sure you address strength, range-of-motion and flexibility.
Try to do your exercises a few times a day. You can cycle down as the pain diminishes. 

WHAT TO EXPECT
If it is a mild injury then you should see significant improvement within 1-3 days. 

BACK IN ACTION
Once the pain diminishes, slowly ease back into your normal daily and athletic activities. Ideally this is done with a clinician to monitor and guide your return to sport rehab plan.

 

A WORD OF CAUTION
To be clear, if the ligament(s) are injured beyond a certain extent, full recovery may require surgery. 

ACL BRACES

The evidence on knee braces is mixed and should not replace exercises. That said, many individuals report significant pain relief when utilizing a knee brace, particularly in the immediate period after an ACL sprain. For additional guidance, please view our Knee Brace Review page.

 

NOT IMPROVING FAST ENOUGH?
Connecting with a joint care professional is the logical next step. Many individuals find this a bit daunting and delay care. But it is important to keep in mind that, generally speaking, the earlier treatment is initiated the more likely you are to experience a full recovery. 

 

CARE ACCESS

To review your Physical Therapy options, check out our PT Resource Guide. To find a clinician who accepts your insurance, you can launch our Physiobot Care Access Specialist.

RESOURCES

-- Check with your doctor or PT prior to initiating a new exercise program --

YOUR EXERCISES

For access to exercises customized for you, please access Physiobot for knee pain.