Healing Your ACL Injury Without Surgery

Tearing your ACL is a fairly common injury that can put you out of your sport for several months. While this ligament injury may appear severe at first, with proper healing up to 98% of people with a torn ACL are able to return to their normal sports activities. If you don't want to have surgery, there are options to help your injury heal successfully, so you can get back to your favorite sports again.

Rest up

Expect several months of downtime while your knee heals. You can accelerate the healing process by resting the injured area for a few weeks before beginning strength exercise programs. You can rest your knee by doing the following:

  • using crutches while walking
  • elevating your knee when resting
  • placing ice on the injured area to reduce swelling

A sports rehabilitation doctor can tell you how long you should rest your ACL injury before beginning rehabilitation exercises. Resting times vary depending on how active you were prior to the injury and how severe your torn ACL is. Rest is crucial to healing your knee without surgery.

Do yoga

Yoga exercises help stretch and strengthen your knee without putting a lot of strain on your injury. Try these positions for optimum healing:

  • reclined leg raises
  • bridge
  • tree
  • leg slides

A beginner yoga class can teach you these exercises so you do them correctly, and get on your way to optimum health again.


As your ACL injury heals, you can begin putting more motion to your knee to strengthen your muscles again. Building muscle mass is key in your later recovery efforts to heal your ACL injury as much as possible. A stationary bike is a great way to move your knee without putting too much strain on your ligaments. As you put your knee in motion with cycling, start slow at first for just a few minutes a day. Since cycling is a low-impact exercise, you can improve the range of motion in your knee without further injuring your ACL. Talk to your doctor before starting a cycling program to ensure your knee is healed enough to begin this exercise.

Your body will tell you when you are able to start using your knee again. With weeks of rest, you can begin doing yoga and light cycling to help your torn ACL heal. A rehabilitation specialist at Eagle Center Physical Therapy can give you further instruction on other beneficial exercises you can do to help your body heal. With time and proper healing, you should be able to enjoy your favorite sports again.