Can you walk with a torn ligament in your knee?

So, you were running a marathon and suddenly felt an unusual pain in your knee. Ouch! It looks like you may have torn one of the ligaments. Naturally, your first question will be whether it is safe to walk or not. Fear not because we’ve broken down everything that’ll help with whether you can walk around on a bum leg.

What Exactly is a Knee Ligament Tear?

Before we go into if walking after tearing your ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) in human language terms – let’s first understand what this ailment is all about.

In simpler terms: A knee ligament tear occurs when one of the four major structures that are responsible for stabilizing the knee gets stretched too far, leading to damage1.

  • The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL)
  • Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL)
  • Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL)
  • Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL)

It can essentially happen due to various reasons ranging from physical activity participation, external trauma or even degeneration caused by age1.

Splitting up specifically – tore an ACL? Well then listen up:

After You Tear Your ACL – Can You Physically Stand Up Straight?

While taking care of any injury should always come first, there’s no surprise here as most sufferer’s initial instinct post-tear would be standing still for hours2, while others might just attempt bending or extending their knees out straight away (there goes every muscle fiber screaming inside).

But before testing out things on a whim; take baby steps but also make sure they’re executed correctly3, because depending upon how severe the degree of ‘partial’ / ‘complete’ laceration was determines exactly how much pressure bearing strain exercising / daily routine activities could potentially bear.

But we understand all of that sounds boring and you just want the answer to the titular question:

Can You Walk with a Torn Ligament in Your Knee?

In simple terms: it depends. It’s not so straightforward because every human body’s injury is different and your torn ligament could either withstand weight or crumble under pressure – Which is never what anyone wants to hear, but is better than being an ‘ultimate warrior’ on crutches.

Multiple factors influence this decision4:
– Severity of tear
– Location of tearing within the knee
– Age & pre-existing medical conditions5

These will decide if walking (complete no, partial maybe) can put undue stress upon traumatized tissue thus leading towards joint instability + in worst-case scenarios – permanent harm/weakened structures inside joints (not fun).

The Role of Braces

During usage post-injury, braces help relieve physical damage caused by movement via stabilization i.e support when we engage leg muscles while performing routine activities such as standing up straight & making powerful strides. But be careful about over-reliance6, excessive use even temporarily can lead towards muscle atrophy since their prime roles are for recovery & supplementary assistance only ~(we don’t want party quirks parties being crashed with guests carrying their own chairs now do we?)~

Though without a doubt; brace selection / sizing should always depend upon physical activity intensity levels exercised during usage7.

Determining functionalities needed plays crucial role , split into:

Functional stability brace

Stops twisting movements – agile motions most commonly associated with pivot-heavy sports8.

Rehabilitation Brace

By promoting stabilisation they prevent re-injury whilst improving strength9.

Prophylactic Brace

Designed-to-duel odds against sports related knee injuries10; essentially supplant equipment assistants for athletes constantly exposed to avenues involving greater risk probabilities11!

Tl;dr – braces? Yes, but specifically selected based on the severity of the tear and activity level.

Rehabilitation for Torn Ligament

Alongside his/her other endeavours with rehabilitation via medication & regular phsyiotherapy sessions – exercise routines herein involve acute focus upon maintaining strength within supporting muscles in our lower-limbs12, supplementing weight-bearing bouts14 to ensure tissue to repair itself is adequately driven + inversely help ward off muscle atrophy13 (..the pub isn’t ready for potential drunk human crutches).

That said, things mustn’t go in reverse when training eases out into a more long term schedule…

Types Of Rehab Exercises

  • Isometric Stability exercises15
  • Proprioceptive Agility drills16
  • Aerobic recovery workouts17

Remember: Even these activities need gradual incrementation ranging from minimum initial weights all the way up to maximum ‘recalibrated’ tolerances again formulated according to individual cases (we have enough drummers here without learning how many marshmallows can fit inside our head)!


I hope this fun article has enlightened you regarding whether walking is possible after tearing your ligament. Remember that every injury is different, so don’t be an ulta-brave-heart and consult your doctor before taking action18!

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