Traditionally, all ACL ruptures have been treated with surgery. In the surgery, either the hamstring or quadriceps tendons are harvested and then passed through the bones of the knee to create a new ACL.

Recent evidence in the British Journal of Sports Medicine has indicated that some ACL injuries can be healed conservatively.

Filbay SR, Dowsett M, Chaker Jomaa M, et al. Healing of acute anterior cruciate ligament rupture on MRI and outcomes following non-surgical management with the Cross Bracing Protocol. British Journal of Sports Medicine Published Online First: 14 June 2023. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2023-106931

The obvious benefit of healing your ACL conservatively is that you do not have to sacrifice any other tissues or tendons in order to stabilise your knee.

MP Sports Physicians’ doctors are able to help you through a bracing protocol to heal your ACL if you are deemed to be a suitable candidate.

I have been told I have ruptured my ACL and I do not want surgery, what do I do next?

  1.        DO NOT let anyone else pull on your knee. Repetitive testing of the ligament can result in the ends being further apart, making you unsuitable for non-surgical treatment.
  2.        Contact our clinic as soon as possible. The bracing protocol is best started ASAP. It cannot be started more than 20 days after your injury.
  3.        We will provide you with an MRI request and will arrange for it to be done urgently.
  4.        You will see one of our doctors to look at the MRI and decide if bracing is appropriate for you.
  5.        If you are suitable to try bracing, your doctor will discuss all the risks and benefits with you.
  6.        If you are still wanting to proceed after this discussion, you will be sent to have a brace fitted.
  7.        This brace will be locked at 90 degrees for 4 weeks. This is the toughest part of the protocol.
  8.        You will be referred to a physiotherapist to help keep the rest of your leg strong.
  9.        The brace will be slowly opened up from week 4-12.
  10.        At week 12, you will have an MRI.
  11.        If this MRI shows healing, you will continue with rehabilitation of the muscles around the knee.
  12.        If it does not show healing, you may need to consider surgery, but there are other factors to consider in that decision as well and your doctor will   discuss these with you.
  13.        Full return to sport is usually around 12 months.