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Author Topic: Spontaneous Healing of ACL  (Read 1101 times)

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Offline irvingplace

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Spontaneous Healing of ACL
« on: March 14, 2017, 02:53:24 PM »
Hi everyone,

I would like to know if anyone has experience with a torn ACL that healed on its own.

To provide some background:
About 10 years ago, I tore my right ACL playing soccer and had it subsequently reconstructed. Then about 1.5 years ago, I tore my left ACL, again playing soccer, and saw an orthopedist who confirmed a full tear with various tests, including MRI, and suggested surgery. Remembering the long rehab from my right knee and work conflicts, I decided against surgery and stopped going to the doctor.

Fast forward to last week - having more time at my disposal and wanting to get back to sports, I went to a different knee specialist, who confirmed the tear 1.5 years ago (I took MRI scans/other papers), but also confirmed with new series of tests that my ACL had somehow grown back :o. Apparently, it happens in rare cases. The doctor told me that I could go back to sports - although he did caveat that he could not assure the strength of the "grown back" ACL. During the 1.5 years, I did not do any rehab or play any sports.

So, I have the following questions to the people on this forum -
  • Does anyone have similar experiences of the ACL healing on its own? If so, how active were/are you after the healing was confirmed?
  • Did you have any issues with the knee afterwards?
  • Did you do any kind of preparation for going back into sports?

Thanks for reading! Have a good day!

Offline Venus Sky

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Re: Spontaneous Healing of ACL
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2017, 01:47:43 AM »
Hi, it's so good to hear about your ACL healing, so miracles do happen!!!  :) :) :)

I am not able to advise as am going through the injury right now myself, and instead would like to ask for your advice and to share your experience since you, better than any doctor, know from your own experience what is easier and better - natural healing vs surgery. How does it feel after 1.5 years - operated right ACL vs naturally healed left ACL?

You mentioned that you did not do any rehab or play any sports, were you still able to walk and lead normal lifestyle without restrictions or were you extra careful, apart from sports of course. How long did it take you to recover from surgery and how long did it take to feel better (or shall I say normal) without doing anything with your left ACL? How active are you now with both knees?

Please share tips and if there is something you think might have helped healing.
How is your healed knee feeling now? Does it hurt or feel differently? And how does your operated knee feel?
Also, do you mind also telling how old are you- in case the age can also be a healing factor (then I have a good healing chance :))

About me: I had full tear of both ACL and MCL in a left knee 6 weeks ago while skiing and was advised to let MCL heal before considering a surgery on ACL. MCL healing rehab included walking on crutches for the first 5 weeks, wearing a bulky brace day&night and attending regular physio sessions and exercises to get the swelling down and muscles working again. I'm now 6 weeks past the accident, still in a brace (though I can now take it off occasionally) and am waiting for repeated MRI scan to determine if there have been any positive changes with my torn ACL. That decision-making time is coming up: wether to opt for ACL surgery or hope for a miraculous recovery.

Thank you in advance! I hope to hear from you soon!


Offline Ayan

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Re: Spontaneous Healing of ACL
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2017, 09:22:00 AM »
Never heard of an acl recovering on its own!!
You seem to be very lucky here!
But I suggest get a second opinion and do another MRI scan just to be sure.
If all goes well, then start with some rahab process .consult a physio, he would be able to assess and give you a better picture!
All the best!!

Offline Gregory

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Re: Spontaneous Healing of ACL
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2017, 11:04:13 PM »
I am in the same boat as Venus Sky and tore my ACL fully (MRI) and MCL which is healing nicely about 6 weeks ago and go back in a few days to consider my options.   I am also very curious about the questions Venus Sky has asked.

I have done a lot of research on this front and have found cases where ACL even complete ruptures do heal spontaneously.

Here is one in which it was found that about 25% of skiing injuries to the ACL can spontaneously heal as the mechanism of the injury is not as abrupt and/or stressful as the twisting motion in football or soccer:
http://drrobertmarx.com/wordpress/wp-content/themes/dr-marx-2015/articles/knee/anterior-cruciate-ligament-injuries/11282012.Nonoperative-treatment-for-anterior-cruciate-ligament-injury-in-recreational-alpine-skiers.pdf
There is also other information out there regarding this:

I wish you the best in the recovery and look forward to hearing more about this.

Offline Grizzla

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Re: Spontaneous Healing of ACL
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2017, 05:10:23 PM »
That's an interesting article, Gregory. And an interesting, hopeful outcome for some (prays hard!). I am just recuperating from an apparent ACL complete rupture in both knees plus serious MCL rupturs in both knees, and don't yet know what direction I will be going forward in, but am a keen recreational skier and avid hill/mountain walker. My physio is keen for me to avoid surgery and to build up muscle strength, and so far I seem to have reasonable stabiity considering that my knees are recovering from a nasty bashing around and much swelling - but am I am not a spring chicken and do worry about meniscus and other knee damage if I don't have surgery.
Spontaneous healing seems a tad hopeful for a complete rupture (if the MRI was right) but we can hope... :)
late March 2017 - ACL complete rupture (per MRI) and MCL 'rupture' (ungraded) in both knees simultaneously + haemarthrosis (bad skiing fall).
No previous known knee issues.