Will I or won’t I be able to return to sports? That’s a heavy question for those who’ve undergone ACL reconstruction surgery. An ACL tear is one of the most common sports injuries. It occurs when the ligament holding the knee joint together snaps, as a result of quick cutting and weaving motions, or an unlucky collision with another player.
Surgery is often the only way to repair the injury, which often comes with a great deal of pain and instability making it difficult to even stand up.
The thought of returning to sports is a daunting one, but one that is likely not far off in an athlete’s mind.
The good news is that the majority of ACL injuries are not career-ending. But they are ‘couch-time’ extending. This means you really need to allow yourself ample time to rest and recuperate in order to heal properly.
Following your physician’s directions for staying off your feet, you’ll then need to adopt a rehabilitation plan –typically with the assistance of a physical therapist–to strengthen your newly repaired ligament.
Experts stress that it’s important not to focus on when you can return to sports, but rather that you will. For some, it could be as soon as six to eight months following injury, for others it could take up to two years.
In younger patients especially, heading back onto the field too soon can result in a second ACL injury.
Through various assessments and strength testing in your physical therapy, your recovery team will be able to best determine your personal timeline for return.
If you’ve suffered an ACL injury and are interested in scheduling an appointment with one of our specialists or physical therapists, please contact us.