CALL NOW (337) 508-1000

(337) 508-1000

Nonsurgical ACL Treatment

Brett Cascio, M.D.

Nonsurgical ACL Treatment

What is the ACL and How Do You Injure It?

The anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, is one of four primary ligaments that hold the knee together. Ligaments are tissue that connect and hold bones together to provide stability in the knee. The ACL is located inside the knee joint, running diagonally in the middle of the knee and connecting the bottom of the thigh bone, or femur, to the top of the lower leg bone, or tibia. It is in charge of rotational stability in the knee, but it also prevents the tibia from sliding forward in front of the femur.

The ACL is one of the most injured ligaments in the knee. Many ACL injuries occur in conjunction with damage to other components of the knee joint, like cartilage, meniscus, or other ligament damage. Injury to the ACL happens most often in sports, but it can happen if the knee is hyperextended or forced to twist abnormally, whether from suddenly changing direction or stopping, slowing down while running, incorrectly landing while jumping, or direct contact or collision.

Who Needs Nonsurgical ACL Treatment?

Symptoms of a torn ACL vary, depending on severity. Many patients hear a popping noise, followed by the sensation of the knee "giving." Other symptoms might include painful swelling, impaired mobility and range of motion, and joint tenderness.To diagnose this condition, your doctor will complete a physical exam and review your medical history. X-ray, MRI, and other tests may be done to gauge the severity of the injury in order to determine the best course of treatment.

What are the Treatment Options?

Nonsurgical treatment options may vary depending on several factors, including the injury's severity and the patient's general health and physical activity level. In order to avoid growth plate damage, nonsurgical options may be preferred over surgical treatment if the patient has not finished growing. If the damage to the ACL occurs without making the knee unstable or if the patient has a very low physical activity level, conservative treatment like bracing and physical therapy are attempted first.

Nonsurgical treatment options may begin with rest, ice, compression, and elevation, or RICE. The intended benefit of each step of RICE is listed below:

  • Rest may allow some time for the muscle fibers to heal.
  • Ice pack application on the affected area may reduce swelling and pain.
  • Compression with a wrap bandage may reduce painful inflammation.
  • Elevation of the affected leg may help reduce any swelling.

Other nonsurgical treatment methods may include bracing, anti-inflammatory medication, and physical therapy exercises. Recovery time will vary, depending not only on the injury's severity, but also on the patient's adherence to prescribed physical therapy exercises. Rehabilitation will require dedication to stretching and strengthening exercises. Adherence to a rehabilitation program is very important for regaining normal mobility, strength and range of motion. Failure to adhere to your rehabilitation plan may increase the risk of further injury. If conservative treatments do not treat the problem or if the injury is severe or unstable, your doctor may recommend surgery.

All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2024, All Rights Reserved.

Dr. Cascio, medical director of Sports Medicine at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital, specializes in Orthopedics and Sports Medicine.



Brett Cascio M.D.


In the News

Media & Downloads

Video Library

Contact Us

Shoulder pain is a common problem, and there can be many causes. A full diagnosis of your symptoms will help address the underlying problem.



Shoulder Anatomy

Shoulder Conditions

Shoulder Treatments

What is a Shoulder Surgeon?

Dr. Cascio will work with you to perform the necessary exams and tests to diagnose the source of your hip pain and then provide you with your options.



Hip Anatomy

Hip Conditions

Hip Treatments

What is a Hip Surgeon?



Knee pain is a common problem, and there can be many causes. Dr. Cascio treats knee pain and injury.



Knee Anatomy

Knee Conditions

Knee Treatments

What is a Knee Surgeon?



Elbow pain is a common problem, and there can be many causes. Dr. Cascio treats elbow pain and injury.



Elbow Anatomy

Elbow Conditions

Elbow Treatments



Ankle pain is a common problem, and there can be many causes. Dr. Cascio treats ankle pain and injury.



Foot & Ankle Anatomy

Foot & Ankle Conditions

Foot & Ankle Treatments

What is a Foot & Ankle Surgeon?



Worker’s Comp injuries need a doctor with the special training and experience to handle these complex problems. When you can’t work, the stress of life is compounded.   Dr. Cascio and his team have years of experience dealing with both the surgical and non-surgical treatment of on the job Injuries.

  Learn More