ACL Treatment

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is responsible for keeping the knee stable. As a ligament, the ACL connects the upper leg bone and lower leg bone. A tear in the ACL can range from a mild injury to a severe tear if the ligament completely tears and causes the bones to separate.

ACL injuries commonly occur from deceleration – a reduction in speed. Twisting your knee while slowing down can cause the knee to buckle and result in a torn ACL. Skiers are often vulnerable to ACL injuries due to “phantom leg.” This is when a ski acts as a very long leg and the resulting torque causes a twist and tear in the ACL.

To diagnose an ACL injury, a physician will examine your knee and ask questions about your health. X-rays or MRIs may be required to understand the extent of the damage to your knee. Arthroscopy is also another option for diagnosis and consists of a physician inserting surgical tools through a small incision to look inside your knee.

Treatment Options

The best mode of treatment for an ACL injury will depend on many factors. For example, younger patients are more likely to choose reconstructive surgery, while older individuals typically opt for a conservative treatment plan utilizing physical therapy. Reconstructive surgery can be performed using tissues from the patient’s hamstring or a cadaver.

It’s likely that surgery will not occur until at least two weeks after injury so that the knee can settle down and be ready for the procedure. After surgery, physical therapy is then necessary to help the body recover and to regain strength in the knee.



Dover, NH Orthopaedic Clinic

19 Webb Place
Dover, NH 03820

Rochester, NH Orthopaedic Clinic

120 Washington Street Suite 101
Rochester, NH 03839

Portsmouth, NH Orthopaedic Clinic

155 Borthwick Avenue, Suite 102
Portsmouth, NH 03801

Plaistow, NH Orthopaedic Clinic

13 Plaistow Road
Plaistow, NH 03865

Raymond, NH Orthopaedic Clinic

6 Freetown Road
Raymond, NH 03077

Exeter, NH Orthopaedic Clinic

1 Hampton Road
Exeter, NH 03833


ACL injuries that occur in the US every year, according to the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine.

Your ACL Treatment Options

Depending on your situation, many ACL treatment options include surgery followed by physical therapy. Your doctor can help you determine the best treatment plan for you.

Our staff understands and recognizes the importance of providing current and accurate workers’ compensation information and patient progress reports in a timely manner. Above all, our focus is on the recovery process and getting patients back to work quickly.

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Specializing Doctor

Joshua A. Siegel, MD

Dr. Siegel is an award-winning surgeon with more than 20 years of experience. He is a US Olympic Committee team physician, a US ski team physician and covers USGA and PGA tour events. Locally, he is the team physician for several high schools, including Phillips Exeter Academy.

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Specializing Doctor

David Davis, MD

Dr. Davis specializes in the treatment of sports-related injuries and has contributed to numerous scholarly publications. His experience includes working as an assistant team physician for the Boston Celtics and Tufts University football and hockey programs. Currently, he is a team physician for several New Hampshire Seacoast high schools.

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Specializing Doctor

Benjamin Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is an award-winning surgeon, with team physician experience working with the Pawtucket Red Sox, the Lowell Spinners, the Pro Bull Riders Tour and Worcester Polytechnical Institute football team.

Meet Dr. Thompson

Is it possible to prevent an ACL injury?

While there is no one prevention technique, you should always stretch your leg muscles before participating in physical activity to lessen the chance of an ACL injury.

Do I need surgery for an ACL injury?

The answer to this will depend on the severity of your injury and your personal situation. Many adults with ACL tears opt for rehabilitation in lieu of surgery, while younger athletes commonly prefer to have their ACL reconstructed. You should talk with a doctor to explore the option that’s best for you.