How is an ACL injury treated?

The common recommendation for immediate treatment of an ACL injury is the well-known rule of RICE:

  • Rest the knee by using crutches and keeping weight off of it

  • Ice the knee
  • Compress the knee with a wrap
  • Elevate the leg

These measures will help control swelling. The doctor may also drain the joint of excess fluid to reduce pressure.After the initial injury symptoms have subsided and the diagnosis has been established, the orthopaedic surgeon will look at the history of the injury and the patient's activity level to determine what treatment is best for the patient.

  • How old is the knee injury?

  • Does the patient continue to have recurrent instability?

  • How old is the patient and what types of activities does this patient enjoy?

  • What level of activity does this patient wish to return to?

  • Are there other associated injuries?

The two basic treatment choices for an ACL injury are:

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