Can You Run With A Torn ACL?

Disclaimer: This article is intended for reference purposes only and does not substitute advice from a medical professional. 

Most runners don’t realize that they can get injured, even after running for years without problems. If you’ve ever had knee pain or experienced other injuries, you probably know how painful it can be to recover from them.

Can You Run With A Torn ACL?

Athletes who participate in sports such as tennis, basketball, soccer, football, baseball, etc., face the risk of injury. The issue is that these injuries often occur gradually over time.

This means that athletes usually don’t notice them until they become severe enough to affect their performance.

In this article, we’ll be looking specifically at a type of injury known as a torn ACL. We’ll discuss what the ACL is, where it is on the body, and whether you can run with a torn ACL or not. 

What Is Your ACL? 

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of four major ligaments in your knee joint. It connects the thigh-bone (femur) to the shinbone (tibia).

The other three are the posterior cruciate ligament, medial collateral ligament, and lateral collateral ligament.

Together, all four ligaments stabilize the knee joint. They act like shock absorbers to protect the knee from twisting and turning during movement.

The ACL is located in front of the center of the knee joint. It’s made up of two bundles of fibers called anteromedial and posterolateral. These bundles connect the femur to the tibia.

How Does An ACL Injury Occur? 

Anterior cruciate ligament injuries happen when someone falls while running or jumping, twists his/her leg, or lands awkwardly on the knee. Injuries caused by landing awkwardly are referred to as “non contact” injuries.

Non Contact injuries may result in tears in the ACL. Tears in the ACL are common among athletes who play contact sports such as football, hockey, lacrosse, rugby, soccer, and wrestling.

Contact injuries include those caused by direct blows to the knee. For example, if someone hits another player hard in the knee, he could tear his ACL.

Can I Run With A Torn ACL? 

Whether you can run with a torn ACL or not is a question that can be quite misleading. If you suffer an ACL injury and are considering running, the best advice would be to consult a doctor before continuing with your exercise habits. 

Running with a torn ACL can lead to even further damage, some of which may be irreparable. 

The good news is that with the correct treatment in place, you can return to running once the injury has healed. 

However, there are certain precautions you should take. 

Precautions To Take When Running With A Torn ACL 

If you have a torn ACL, you need to make sure that you’re doing everything possible to ensure that the injury heals properly. Here are some things you should do: 

Resting The Knee

Resting the knee is important because it allows the muscles around the knee to heal. Once the tissues have healed, you can begin exercising again. 

Taking Anti-Inflammatory Medications

Anti-inflammatory medications help reduce swelling and pain in the injured area. 

Staying Active

Exercise helps keep your muscles strong and healthy. Staying active also keeps you mentally focused and prevents depression. 

Avoiding Excessive Weight-Bearing

Excessive weight-bearing causes the bones and joints to become weak. This makes them susceptible to re-injury. Avoid putting too much pressure on the knee until it’s completely healed. 

What Happens If You Don’t Repair A Torn ACL? 

Can You Run With A Torn ACL?

If you have a torn ACL, there are several options for treatment. One option is to repair the ACL using surgery. Another option is to use a brace or support device to help keep the knee stable.

Another option is to rest the knee and let it heal naturally. However, if you do nothing, the torn ACL will eventually fail and cause further damage.

Treatment Options After An ACL Injury 


If you decide to undergo surgery, your doctor would remove damaged tissue from around the knee joint, then suture the ends of the ACL together.

You’d also need to wear a cast or splint for six weeks following surgery. During this period, your doctor might recommend physical therapy to strengthen your muscles and improve your range of motion.


You can use braces to prevent further damage to the knee joint. Braces work by supporting the knee joint and keeping it straight.

Some braces are designed to hold the knee still during exercise. Others allow you to move the knee through its full range of motion.

Support Devices 

Support devices are used after surgery to help keep the knee supported. There are many types of support available. Your doctor would choose which type best suits your needs.

Resting Knee 

Your doctor may tell you that you should rest your injured knee. This means no running, jumping, or strenuous activity for eight to 12 weeks.

Physical Therapy 

Physical therapists teach patients how to safely perform exercises at home. They also provide guidance about what activities to avoid until they recover.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Still Run Without ACL Treatment? 

A torn ACL can lead to long-term problems such as arthritis and instability. Therefore, it’s vital to get proper care right away to ensure a quick recovery. It’s not advisable to run with a torn ACL, but you should be able to run again once the ligament has healed. 

How Do I Know If My ACL Is Torn? 

If you’re unsure whether you’ve injured your ACL, there are certain things to look out for which can determine if you’ve injured your ACL, these include: 

  • A “popping” sensation in the knee 
  • Rapid swelling 
  • Inhibited range of motion 
  • The knee feels unstable or might “give way” when weight-bearing.


An ACL tear is one of the most common injuries sustained while playing sports or running. It can be difficult to know whether you’ve suffered an ACL tear or not. The symptoms often mimic other injuries, so it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Megan Rinzel
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