Whether you have surgery depends on the injury and stability of the knee. It should not be assumed that swimming can be substituted for surgery. A thorough exam by your orthopedic surgeon and what ever xrays or MRIs necessary will determine the extent of the injury.
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"Surgery for Partial ACL Tears. Treatment of an ACL tear is most dependent on how much knee instability is caused by the injury. Therefore, there is no critical cutoff in terms of how much of the ACL is torn. ... If the knee is stable, then non surgical treatments may be considered.
Oct 27, 2017"
"Swimming after ACL surgery is one activity that is highly effective and should be built into the ACL tear recovery of every program. Getting wet and in the pool is an easy way to get back into exercise post-surgery.
As part of your ACL rehab exercises, swimming and water activities can be used to increase strength and flexibility and can be started as early as three weeks post ACL operation. In addition, water exercises are low-impact and can be completed with lower levels of pain."