When most people think of a torn ACL, they envision a gruesome injury suffered by professional athletes. However, knee injuries can occur to anyone, not just those engaged in high-risk sports. The ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament, is a key stabilizer in the knee joint, and a tear can lead to severe pain and instability. Treatment typically involves surgical repair of the ligament, followed by extensive rehabilitation. In some cases, a partial or complete replacement of the ACL may be necessary. In other cases, the ligament is left to repair on its own when the tear is only partial (1).
Regardless of the extent of the injury, a torn ACL can have a significant impact on one's quality of life. For this reason, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible if you suspect that you may have suffered a tear. However, there are some things you can do at home to help speed up the healing process.
What is a knee joint made of?
The knee joint is classified as a hinge-type synovial joint that is made when the end of the femur and the beginning of the tibia come together. In addition, the patella (kneecap) articulates with the femur in front of the knee joint. Several ligaments keep the joint position stable. The medial and lateral collateral ligaments (MCL and LCL) keep the joint stable on both sides. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) cross in the middle of the knee to keep the knee stable both on the inside and outside (2).
The ACL is located in front of the PCL and, thus, is considered anterior. Cartilage covers the ends of bones at the joints and acts as a protective cushion to prevent bone-to-bone contact. The knee joint is encased in a connective tissue membrane called the joint capsule, which is lined with a synovial membrane. This membrane secretes a small amount of fluid that lubricates and nourishes the joint cartilage. The muscles that move or stabilize the knee joint are located around it (3).
Can you Heal an ACL tear?
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the main stabilizing ligaments that maintain the position of the knee joint. It is made up primarily of collagen, a type of protein that gives the tissue its strength and elasticity. The ACL attaches the femur (thighbone) to the tibia (shinbone) and helps to prevent the tibia from sliding out in front of the femur.
Treatment for an ACL tear often includes surgically repairing or replacing the ligament, followed by a period of rehabilitation. In some cases, a partial ACL tear can heal on its own with rest and physical therapy. However, this is more likely to occur in people who have a partial tear of the ligament. For people with a complete ACL tear, surgery is generally recommended in order to reduce the risk of further damage to the joint. So, it is important to talk to a doctor right away to find out what kind of ACL injury you have (4).
Evaluating an ACL Injury
Rest is crucial when you have a partial ACL tear. This means avoiding any activities that put stress on your knee, such as running, jumping, or playing sports. You should also ice your knee for 10- 20 minutes at a time. It is best to repeat this several times a day to reduce swelling and pain.
- Imaging results, such as magnetic resonance imaging, are critical in determining the extent of the tear.
- A thorough evaluation of the condition of the joint is required before making any decisions about treatment.
An orthopedic surgeon may need to intervene to save the joint from damage. On the other hand, it is important to keep in mind that natural therapies can be indicated to help heal a partial ACL tear that is cleared to heal with non-surgical treatment. Even if the decision is made to have ACL surgery, natural therapies can be used along with conservative treatment to speed up healing.
The best way to decide if you need ACL reconstruction surgery is to talk to a doctor who knows your medical history, how long you need to heal, and how active you usually are. This will help you choose the best option and plan a realistic recovery time. A complete treatment plan is one that keeps in mind nonsurgical options and interventions that promote natural healing. The best treatment is one that the patient is likely to stick to (5).
Supplements to Help with Joint Repair
There are a number of supplements that have been shown to be effective in repairing joint injuries. Collagen and glucosamine are nutrients that are essential for the health of connective tissue. By taking these supplements, you can help to improve the strength and flexibility of the ligament, which can reduce the risk of further injury. In addition, these nutrients can also help to reduce inflammation and pain. If you are considering taking supplements to repair a cruciate ligament tear, it is important to speak to your doctor first to ensure that they are right for you.
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for wound healing and tissue repair, so it's not surprising that it can also help with ligament repair. Vitamin C helps the body to produce collagen, a protein that is essential for healthy ligaments. Vitamin C can be found in abundance in citrus fruits, bell peppers, and broccoli. You can also take a vitamin C supplement to ensure that you're getting enough of this vital nutrient (6).
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a compound that can also help to support collagen production. Vitamin C and other nutrients are often taken with MSM supplements to help keep ligaments healthy (7,8).
Glucosamine is a compound that is essential for the formation of new cartilage. It's often taken as a supplement to treat osteoarthritis, but it can also be helpful for ligament repair. Glucosamine supplements are usually taken with collagen or chondroitin, which is another important compound for healthy cartilage (9,10).
Ligament Repair for Partial Tears
How to Heal a Ligament?
Once a health care provider has looked at a joint and decided that it can heal without orthopedic surgery, a tendon graft, or any other kind of surgery, we move on to helping the body heal. In order for ligament healing to occur, the area should be immobilized to prevent further damage. Once the ligament has been repaired, physical therapy will be necessary to regain strength and range of motion. The rehabilitation process can be slow, but with dedication and focus, most patients are able to make a full recovery in 3 to 6 months.
- Start by stopping immobilization and supporting the joint.
- Continue to engage the surrounding muscles as much as possible.
- Ask about therapies like acupuncture and electrostimulation to preserve the strength of the surrounding muscles.
- Contact a physical therapist to investigate physical activities that are appropriate for your recovery process.
Did you know that Vitamin C can promote healthy tendon and ligament healing by promoting healthy collagen synthesis?Learn More
More About The Building Blocks
Collagen is a protein that is found in the connective tissue of animals. It is the most abundant protein in the human body, and it plays an important role in maintaining the structure of the skin, bones, and joints. Collagen has been shown to be effective in treating joint inflammation, and it is commonly used as a dietary supplement. Collagen supplements are typically made from the collagen of cows or chickens. The collagen is processed into a powder that can be taken orally or applied to the skin. Collagen supplements are thought to help reduce inflammation by providing the body with the building blocks necessary to repair damaged tissues. In addition, collagen supplements may also help to improve joint function and reduce pain.
Collagen is a builder that may assist with the regaining of knee function. Individuals with an active lifestyle are likely to have suffered some wear on their joints. It is not uncommon to see some signs of wear and tear, even on young athletes. So, giving the body the building blocks of joints could make joints that are constantly stressed much stronger and help them heal faster (11).
Glucosamine is a naturally occurring substance that is found in the human body. It is a component of cartilage, and it plays an important role in the repair and maintenance of joints. Glucosamine supplements are often used to treat joint inflammation, and they are thought to work by improving the quality of cartilage (12). A number of clinical studies have shown that glucosamine supplements can help to reduce pain and improve function in people with osteoarthritis. As a part of the body that helps reduce inflammation and gives the body building blocks, glucosamine may make it much easier for the body to fix stressed or injured joints.
MSM is a naturally-occurring compound that is found in small amounts in a variety of plant and animal tissues. It is gaining popularity as a dietary supplement due to its potential health benefits, including joint and ligament health. MSM is thought to work by reducing inflammation and pain, promoting the production of collagen, and improving circulation. Some early research shows that it might help treat conditions like arthritis, fibromyalgia, and tendonitis (13).
The Role of Sulphation in the Body
Sulphation is a process that occurs naturally in the body and is essential for many physiological functions. It involves the attachment of sulfate molecules to proteins, enzymes, and hormones. This process is necessary for the proper function of many enzymes, including those involved in detoxification, inflammation, and blood clotting. Sulphation also plays a role in the production of collagen and proteoglycans, which are essential for healthy connective tissue.
There are a number of ways to support sulfation in the body, including taking MSM supplements and eating a diet rich in sulfur-containing foods. Foods that are high in sulphur include garlic, onions, kale, Brussels sprouts, and eggs (14).
Anti-Inflammatory Medications—Natural Treatment Options
Medications that target inflammation may help reduce the pain associated with a knee injury. On the other hand, functional natural supplements may significantly support the healing of the injury at the same time as they reduce the pain and swelling.
Serrapeptase is an enzyme that helps to break down inflammation and scar tissue. It is commonly used to treat injury-induced pain and damage, as well as other conditions associated with inflammation and scarring. Serrapeptase works by breaking down the proteins that cause inflammation and scar tissue. This lets the body get rid of the inflammation and scar tissue, which can make the pain go away and make the body work better. This allows the body to remodel the affected area and reduce inflammation (15).
A number of clinical studies have shown that serrapeptase is effective in treating a variety of conditions, including carpal tunnel syndrome, sinusitis, and Crohn's disease.
Serrapeptase, as a scar tissue remover and blood thinner, is a good option for treating the pain and inflammation of the traditional, everyday common injury. On the other hand, it is shown to significantly improve the blood supply and may be of benefit to utilize as an anti-inflammatory at the time of injury to help reduce pain and swelling.
It is safe and well-tolerated, with few side effects. Serrapeptase may be an effective adjunctive treatment for ligament inflammation and tares, as well as other conditions associated with inflammation and scarring. If needed, a proteolytic enzyme like serrapeptase may be a better option than medical anti-inflammatory drugs because it can help the body heal without exposing it to its side effects (16).
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"The Surgical Option"
For those who must choose the surgical option as they suffer a full tear of a cruciate ligament, assisting the body with rebuilding may also significantly expedite healing. Surgery may be a cumbersome procedure depending on the severity of the tear. Asking your doctor about the best options to help heal the injury may significantly expedite post-surgical recovery.
Surgery is generally recommended for people with a complete tear of the ACL. This is because surgery can help to reduce the risk of further damage to the joint. Surgery involves the repair or replacement of the ligament. Recovery times vary, but it is typically a six-to eight-week process before you can return to normal activities (17).
Partial tears of the ACL can often be treated without surgery, but it is important to seek medical advice to ensure that the injury is not causing any further damage to the joint. Physical therapy and exercises that focus on strengthening the muscles around the knee can be helpful in treating a partial tear. Surgery may be recommended in some cases. Regardless of the chosen option, it is always beneficial to help the body by reducing inflammation, breaking down scar tissues, keeping active and providing it with the building blocks to heal and make high-quality tissues.