Whether surgery is required for ACL injuries and imbalance depends on a few factors. The first is the type of injury you’re dealing with. These are graded on the severity of the damage.
For instance, a Grade 1 ACL injury stretches the ligament, though it hasn’t torn and maintains joint stability. Grade 2 sprains stretch the ACL until it is loose and partially torn. A Grade 3 injury does the most damage, causing the ligament to tear into two pieces.
Though the first two injury types cause some ACL knee instability, they’ll likely recover with rehab and physical therapy. Surgery isn’t always required, as long as the injured individual follows their medical team’s treatment recommendations.
A complete tear rarely heals properly without surgical intervention. Though individuals may still move about without assistance, instability is likely during normal movements. Even walking becomes difficult, and exercise or sports activities will be almost impossible.
Surgical requirements also depend on the individual. Some people respond better to ACL treatment and rehab than others. Those who are relatively inactive, rarely participating in high-demand sports, may not require surgery. Those leading inactive lives may also recover from an ACL injury using non-surgical treatments.