Can You Run With a Torn ACL

Rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament is one of the most serious injuries of the knee joint. In sports, this means that an athlete is out for a period of 6 to 9 months. Some athletes with a similar injury ended their professional careers. However, not everything is so terrible and, after a period of rehabilitation, a person can start an active lifestyle again with serious loads on the previously injured knee.

Your anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, helps stabilize your knee during exercises like running. A partial tear or finish rupture of your ACL can lead to knee instability, pain and swelling. Keeping up a torn ACL may be possible after conservative rehab however depends upon the intensity of the tear and your symptoms. Consult your doctor about your treatment options.

Can You Run With a Torn ACL

Anterior Cruciate Ligament

Your ACL lies in your knee and connects your thighbone and shinbone. It stabilizes your knee by avoiding your shinbone from moving or equating forward throughout activities like running. A fall, twisting motion or direct hit to your knee can cause damage to your ACL. When you sprain your ACL, you can have a partial tear, or grade-two sprain, or a complete rupture, or grade-three sprain. In serious cases, you might sprain your ACL along with other knee ligaments and tear your meniscus or cartilage.


Immediately following an ACL tear, you may experience pain, swelling, impaired knee function and joint instability. The severity of these symptoms vary based upon the damage brought on by the injury and your body’s response. For example, some people may have no knee instability following a partial ACL tear, whereas others may experience knee instability that inhibits normal walking and running. Even without knee instability, running shortly after tearing your ACL is unlikely due to pain and swelling.

Conservative Treatment

The objectives of conservative rehabilitation for your torn ACL include managing pain and swelling and gaining back normal knee motion, strength and stability. When these objectives are satisfied, you may advance back into your normal running regimen. On the other hand, you might continue to experience impaired knee function like instability or decreased range of movement even after completing rehabilitation, according to a 2009 Ullevaal University Hospital research study. However, using a knee brace while running may help get rid of consistent knee instability and pain following rehabilitation.


According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 90 percent of individuals with knee instability who do not go through surgical repair work establish meniscus or cartilage damage with time. Secondary injuries like meniscus tears and arthritis might lead to additional pain and swelling, hindering your ability to run long-lasting. Chronic knee instability and secondary injuries might likewise cause muscle loss or atrophy, adhesions or scar tissue build-up and a decline in your knee’s range of motion. Therefore, receiving the appropriate treatment and going back to normal activities only after your knee is healed is imperative to preventing future knee injuries while running.

Factors to consider

If symptoms continue after rehab or you run competitively and you have a total rupture to your ACL, your doctor may recommend going through surgery before you go back to running. After rehab, you might be needed to lower your running speed and distance briefly. Any changes or ineffectiveness such as a slight limp in your running gait can decrease your athletic performance and increase your threat for future injuries.

Knee Braces For Safe Walking and Running after Torn ACL

Below we offer you a list of recommended knee braces that will help you speed up the rehabilitation process after an ACL tear, as well as protect your walks and runs that you decide to return to after this injury.

  1. POWERLIX Knee Compression Sleeve – Best Knee Brace for Men & Women – $19 on Amazon
  2. Knee Brace with Side Stabilizers & Patella Gel Pads for Knee Support – $19 on Amazon
  3. NEENCA Professional Knee Brace – $19 on Amazon
  4. MODVEL 2 Pack Knee Compression Sleeve – $12 on Amazon
  5. TechWare Pro Knee Brace Support – $24 on Amazon
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