Can You Walk With a Torn ACL?

In short, the answer is yes‚you can walk with a torn ACL.

But there are caveats.

First, a story. I remember straining my medial collateral ligament (MCL) during college football practice. The unnatural way the knee bent and the initial pain—I was convinced my season was over. “Can you walk?” asked the coach. And to my surprise the answer was yes.

I finished practice and it wasn’t until the next day that everything stiffened up.

I share this story because the situation is similar to an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear. Is the injury immediately apparent and a little bit shocking? Yes, absolutely. Is it completely debilitating? Not always. And under the right circumstances, you can walk with a torn ACL.

This can be both a blessing and a curse.

RELATED: 4 Simple Ways to Prevent an ACL Tear

Assuming that walking is approved by your physician, you should avoid any twisting, turning, and sudden movements. Your ACL is essential to these movements—after a tear, sudden twists can lead to buckling, re-injury, and permanent damage to your knee cartilage.

Although a person with a fully torn ACL can usually resume walking soon after the injury, athletes playing sports that require lateral movement and quick turns often face a different path to recovery. It’s likely they will miss significant time.

RELATED: Is ACL Surgery the Right Option?

Walking at an easy pace is one thing. For people who’ve torn an ACL but don’t expect to return to high-intensity activity, a non-surgical path can be followed that usually includes a rather quick reintroduction of regular walking activities.

Repairing a torn ACL and returning to 100% normal athletic function is wholly another. An ACL rehabilitation protocol of one kind or another is usually recommended for athletes who expect to return to their sports to avoid further damage to both the ACL and the rest of the knee structure.

One option is to reduce the body-weight and gravity impact on the knee, which can be done with tools like the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill™. By unweighting up to eighty percent of the person’s body weight, physical therapists can introduce walking exercises that help retrain and restrengthen the knee while correcting any gait asymmetries.

To learn more, watch our ACL repair protocol video.

Healthy Ways to Celebrate Independence Day

The 4th of July is a weekend-long patriotic party and you should have more than enough time to be social, so make sure you take time for self care and healthy celebration during America’s favorite holiday. Feel grateful, healthy and refreshed, not run-down and depleted, when the celebration ends! Here are some healthy ways you can celebrate Independence Day.

Nourish your Body

Many people choose to celebrate the Fourth of July at a BBQ with friends and family, where food and beverage choices might lend themselves to some unhealthy consumption. Whether you do or not, be nice to your body and make good choices. Getting some light exercise not only feels good, but also helps make that second slice of pie guilt-free.

  • Stay hydrated – drink plenty of water to help combat sun exposure and heat exhaustion. Limit your alcohol intake, especially if you’ll be in the sun or swimming.
  • Get active! Check out free local fitness classes. Many gyms and studios have specials this week. Give that yoga studio you’ve been eyeing a try.
  • Take a leisurely stroll at a local park (you can even pretend you’re at the beach, if you like).
  • Find a local pool or lake and go for a dip. Cool off while getting in some light exercise.
  • Play some games with friends and family. Croquet, horseshoes, frisbee and ping pong are great, low-impact options.

Get Out Of Your Routine

  • Visit a new location or try a new activity. Step out of your comfort zone; maybe you’ll start a new tradition.
  • Take advantage of a museum or park offering free admission this weekend!
    Visit historical American sites or Revolutionary War reenactments to celebrate our Independence.
  • Meet someone new! Get to your community fireworks display early. Bring a camping chair, yoga bolster, or other comfy seating if needed. Chat with neighbors or those celebrating nearby and get to know someone new. Making new connections can boost endorphins, the chemicals our brain releases when it’s happy.

Feel Good by Doing Good

Consider how you can contribute to the life, liberty, or pursuit of happiness for someone else by volunteering your time or services to support veterans and those in the armed forces.

  • Check with local military bases and see if they need volunteers for an event.
  • Contact a soup kitchen or homeless center and volunteer your time, money, or supplies so that they can serve those less fortunate. While you’re there, talk to vets and really listen to their stories.
  • Volunteer in a parade! Help veterans get recognized by their communities and have some fun while you’re at it!

Color it Red, White and Blue

Get patriotic and display your pride!

  • Paint your pride with anything from face paint to car markers. Make your festivities pop with some red, white and blue!
  • Fly your American flag! Make sure you check the rules for displaying the flag here.
  • Create some decorations with your kids! Get out that red, white and blue construction paper and some glitter to make your own flags or banners, and brighten up your car windows, backyard BBQ, or even your dog.

Celebrate your freedom to take time for yourself, do something you enjoy, and make healthy choices. However you choose to spend it, Happy Independence Day!