Can You Hike With A Torn ACL? (All You Need To Know)

Can You Hike With a Torn ACL

Nobody wants to experience the pain of not participating in a long-awaited hike exercise because of some injury.

But, with related Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injuries, most sporting and sporting-like activities come to a pause. 

The pain of missing a planned hike activity is comparable to the actual pain from a torn ACL.

Regardless, there is still a possibility of performing certain sport-like activities, even with a related ACL, such as a torn ACL.

Yes, you can certainly go hiking with a torn ACL. However, certain modalities must be in place for maximum safety. With the aid of poles and braces, you can do much more than hiking with little to no stress. Nevertheless, you should first confirm with your physical therapist for optimum assurance.

Engaging in certain activities with an ACL injury is risky. However, it is possible to bounce back to those activities.

This article answers multiple questions about hiking with an ACL injury and even more! 

Can You Hike With an ACL Injury?

Can You Hike With a Torn ACL

Hiking with an ACL injury is possible with every modality put in place. However, it depends on the grade of the ACL injury.

In simple and light cases (grade one), you can still maintain stability for walking without experiencing pain. In such a case, you can successfully hike with no problem.

In worst-case scenarios, the condition is not so smooth. You will require certain aids, such as hiking poles and knee braces, to enable the hiking exercise.

The best way to be checked and be sure to hike is to receive a recommendation from your physical therapist. 

The table below shows the grade of an ACL injury and the remark concerning hiking activities.

Types Of Anterior Cruciate Ligament InjuryRemarks 
Grade oneAn overstretched ACL. You can still perform every activity comfortably.
Grade twoExtended ligament leading to a partial tear. Symptoms increase, meaning fewer activities.
Grade threeA total tear of the ligament with full symptoms. At this point, you’ll need reconstruction for a possible comeback.

The popping sensation, severe pain, and motion instability that come with anterior cruciate ligament-related injuries don’t allow for most sporting activities.

However, if you can almost immediately walk straight, up, and down, you can certainly go hiking with an ACL injury.

As hiking doesn’t involve twisting and pivoting the knee joint, you can certainly give it a trial. However, it is better to prepare with every modality you require under such a condition.

Can You Run On a Torn ACL?

The answer is a complicated yes. Firstly, yes, because you can bounce back to running under certain conditions and medical administration. 

With the proper knee strengthening aid, such as braces, you can still run with a torn ACL.

The braces work in such a way that your muscles will be the ones providing the needed support.

It is worth noting that even with braces support, you can only limit your running to even and leveled surfaces. This way, you minimize the risk of worsening the injury. 

The not-so-yes aspect is that a torn ACL poses many risks, especially in sporting activities that require running. 

Know that the anterior cruciate ligament plays a major role in allowing sudden stops, jumps, pivoting, change in direction, and running. 

Therefore, you cannot run on a torn ACL except the condition warrants it. Walking is a major problem with a torn ACL, not running.

One of the biggest risks of a torn ACL is the possibility of individuals developing a condition called “knee Osteoarthritis.” 

Therefore, for a torn ACL condition, it is better to be safer by not engaging in extra strenuous activity such as sprinting.  

Nevertheless, there is a lot of technological advancement in the medical field, which is good news for athletes. There is a big chance of a great comeback with a torn ACL.

So, for athletes and those who are active in sports, you can get an ACL surgical reconstruction that can level things for the good.

How Long Can You Walk With a Torn ACL?

There is no time interval for you to walk with a torn ACL. It all depends on how much you can bear per time. If the case is severe, you can only take a little walk.

However, if you can walk unassisted, there is no limit to how long you should go with the injury. So, your only limitation is how much you can bear to walk.

Before attempting to go hiking, you must be sure that the swellings and the pain subside first.

A predominant sign of a torn ACL is the loss of range of motion. With a torn ACL, you can only walk a little distance at a time, always less than your usual range.

However, one fact to reckon with is that ACL injury signs and symptoms vary grossly among individuals. 

Some people can almost immediately walk, even with a torn ACL. It means that, for such people, going a long way will not be much of an issue.

For others, the swellings and tenderness from the injury cause them to lose range of movement. So, they can move only a little distance, even with or without the use of braces. 

Every case varies, so for all certainty, you can get a hiking pole and knee brace to give it a shot. Knee braces make a lot of impact on walking with a torn ACL, especially for long walks. 

But, it will certainly be hard for every step you take during a long walk. You can get knee braces of different types and quality here at cost-friendly prices.

Will Hiking With a Torn ACL Make It Worse?

It all depends on under what condition you are hiking. So as not to worsen the condition, I recommend that you don’t go hiking with an ACL injury immediately after sustaining one. 

A hike will be bad for certain conditions since you will only worsen your current state.

However, you are somewhat undergoing a therapeutic process under other conditions since walking helps with ACL injuries.  

So, in this case, you are only recovering rather than worsening the situation. So, we can say that it’s a two-way kind of effect that sorely depends on the condition of the hike.

However, the truth is that hiking on a torn ACL poses more risk to a great degree. 

Remember that your need isn’t in its best condition and hiking always requires claiming up or down hills.

For a torn ACL, there are two very paramount possibilities. There is a case of a worsened condition medically called “knee Osteoarthritis.”  

I am also hiking with a torn anterior cruciate ligament risks a longer recovery.

Some conditions will certainly worsen ACL injury. For instance, attempting to hike without an external support system on a torn ACL will worsen the condition.

Also, strenuous exercise that requires twisting and pivoting the knee will worsen the case. Running sometimes can worsen the situation, especially running on an uneven surface.

In conclusion, hiking on a torn anterior cruciate ligament may not pose any risk under certain conditions. However, it can still worsen the case, which isn’t a happy ending.


Anterior cruciate ligament injuries are among the most common injuries affecting athletes, especially women. The grade three (torn ACL) is the commonest of all ACL types.

However, regardless of all the limitations of ACL injuries, it is possible to still engage in certain activities. Activities such as hiking are very much possible.

Josh Matthews

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