Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Surgery Unnecessary
The Fitness Fixer
The Fitness Fixer

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Surgery Unnecessary

After injury to the anterior cruciate ligament of the knee (ACL) it is common to be told that surgery is the only way to restore function. Is it?

Ninety percent of ACL injuries in the U.S. are treated with surgical reconstruction. A study reported in the Dec. 15 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism found that, "Two to five years after treatment, patients had similar muscle strength and function whether they had training alone or with surgery." The study concludes, "Reconstructive surgery is not a prerequisite for restoring muscle function." That means you can have good results with good rehab and without surgery.

A second question is development of ostoarthritis following ACL injury. Poor knee stability increases risk of developing arthritis. Studies tracking results for years following the surgery are finding that surgery "adds no benefit over rehabilitative training alone" and that surgery is done, "despite an absence of evidence to suggest that reconstruction of the ACL prevents or reduces the rate of early-onset osteoarthritis." That means you don't need the surgery to prevent possible future arthritis.

Another common myth is that knee injury comes from "muscle imbalance" in the thigh from too much strength in the quadriceps muscles over the hamstring muscles. The strength of a muscle does not make you move it. That means you control whether you overstraighten a knee or not. It is a use issue, not a strength ratio. Future posts will cover the issue of quadriceps to hamstring ratios and injury to the ACL and other knee structures.

You don't have to have ACL surgery to rehab a knee injury.

Fitness Fixer Posts on Fixing Knee Pain Without Surgery:

Meniscus. Coming Next:

Hamstring to Quadriceps Ratio:

Helpful Books, available from my BOOKS page -

  • Fix Your Own Pain Without Drugs or Surgery
  • Health&Fitness - How To Be Healthy Happy and Fit For The Rest of Your Life. THIRD edition.


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About the Author


Dr. Bookspan is an award-winning scientist whose goal is to make exercise easier and healthier.