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Treatment for ACL Injuries in Children and Teens

Overview

A child with an ACL injury can sometimes be treated without surgery to avoid damage to the child's still-growing bones. For example, rehab exercises, wearing a brace, and avoiding activities that require jumping or twisting can help.

Surgery is usually recommended for active children. It can keep the knee more stable and help prevent future problems.

An avulsion fracture is more common in young children. This happens when the ligament and a piece of bone separate from the rest of the bone. It can often be treated with a cast. But it sometimes needs surgery.

The main risk of surgery in a child whose bones are still growing is slowed growth. This could make one leg longer than the other. Other risks include a deformed thigh bone. The closer a child or teen is to full growth, the lower the risk of these problems.

Credits

Current as of: July 1, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Freddie H. Fu MD - Orthopedic Surgery