A torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL tear) can be painful and make your knee unstable. And it can keep you from doing everyday activities and the sports you love. You need to take care of it right away before it gets worse.
We want to help you get back to being active as quickly and safely as possible. At Cleveland Clinic, we diagnose, treat and rehabilitate both simple and more complicated ACL tears. We’re here for you — and your knee.
Why Choose Cleveland Clinic for ACL Injuries?
Orthopaedists, surgeons, sports medicine physicians, radiologists, physical therapists and other skilled providers work together to provide streamlined care. You’ll get all the tests and treatments you need in one place from one trusted team.
Surgery is only one part of ACL tear treatment. At Cleveland Clinic, we support you in many ways to help you feel better. From prehabilitation (presurgery prep) and presurgery tests to physical rehabilitation at one of our Sports Medicine Centers, our sports medicine specialists are with you every step of the way.
Cleveland Clinic providers are actively involved in research that’s advancing the way we treat ACL injuries. And we participate in a national registry of ACL reconstruction data. Meet our team.
Our orthopedic providers know how to treat complex knee trauma like fractures, dislocations and ligament injuries. Our surgeons can often repair bone and soft tissue injuries during the same surgery, so you’re on the road to recovery faster.
We know an ACL tear can sometimes make it hard to get your appointment. You don’t have to thanks to our virtual visits. You can meet with your providers online from the comfort of your home. All you need is a smartphone, tablet or computer.
Cleveland Clinic is a trusted healthcare leader. We're recognized in the U.S. and throughout the world for our expertise and care.
ACL Tear Diagnosis at Cleveland Clinic
The diagnosis process starts with a conversation. First we’ll ask about your medical history and your symptoms. Next, we’ll do a physical exam of your knee and compare it to your other knee. We may do a few tests to see how bad your injury is.
Imaging tests can help us get a good look at what’s happening inside your knee. We might recommend an X-ray to see if you have a fracture or dislocation and an MRI to see how bad the damage to your ACL is. Often, an ACL happens with another soft tissue injury like a meniscus tear.
Providers Who Treat ACL Tears
LocationsWe offer ACL tear treatment at many locations throughout Northeast Ohio and Florida.
ACL Treatment at Cleveland Clinic
When you tear your ACL, it means you’ve overstretched and at least partially torn a main ligament in your knee. Usually, when you do this, you’ll need surgery to repair it. That’s because your ACL doesn’t have its own blood supply, so it’s likely that this injury won’t get better on its own.
ACL reconstruction surgery
ACL reconstruction is the gold standard for repairing this injury. Our surgeons will use a minimally invasive open surgery to take a tendon from your thigh or another part of your knee (graft) or from a donor.
Next, our surgeons will use knee arthroscopy to do the ACL reconstruction — which requires only a few tiny incisions (cuts). This means you’ll have less trauma to surrounding tissues, a lower risk of complications — like infection — and a quicker recovery. You’ll also most likely be able to go home on the same day as your surgery.
ACL tear surgery recovery
Getting back on your feet after an ACL tear begins right after your surgery. At Cleveland Clinic, you’ll see providers before and after your surgery. Physical therapists will help you understand how to correctly use any equipment you might need (braces and crutches). Nurses will also be there to make sure you’re wearing everything properly and are ready for recovery at home. They’ll show you how to do safe, at-home exercises and give you an idea of what to expect in the days and weeks to come.
Before you leave the hospital, you’ll also schedule your first appointment for physical therapy at one of our family health centers, hospitals or medical offices. Physical therapy will help you get better faster.
The time it takes to completely recover after ACL construction is different for everyone. Each member of your care team — including your surgeon, primary care provider, physician’s assistant, nurses, physical therapists, physical therapy assistants and athletic trainers — are dedicated to your specific rehabilitation needs.
ACL therapy without surgery
If your provider thinks you aren’t healthy enough for surgery, if you aren’t very active or your symptoms don’t really affect the quality of your life, you may decide not to have surgery. In that case, your provider may recommend the R.I.C.E. method (Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevation.) But remember, an ACL injury will never get completely better on its own.
Taking the Next Step
An ACL tear can really disrupt your life. But you don’t have to live with a wobbly, sometimes painful knee. At Cleveland Clinic, we’ll use the latest treatments to repair your torn ligament. We’re here to help you get back on your feet and moving through life again as soon as possible.
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