How Quickly Can I Get Back to Playing Sports After ACL Surgery?

This week I wanted to answer a common question we recently get asked quite regularly by our post ACL surgery clients:

“I just had ACL surgery last month after playing football. I want to get back to playing sports or at least be able to go for a run without pain but am not sure what to do or how long it will take… I also want to do this in a way that is safe and minimises risk of a re-tear of my ACL because I read that it can happen. I don’t want to go through this type of surgery all over again. Any advice?”

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Reconstruction

One of the most common traumatic knee injuries in sports is an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) sprain or tear.

The ACL is a major ligament that helps to stabilize the knee joint. Athletes and recreational enthusiasts of all ages can experience an ACL tear, especially those who participate in high demand sports like football, basketball, and volleyball. After surgery, athletes tend to be very anxious to get back to the sport they love.

Common complaints we get asked about following ACL reconstruction surgery are:

  • Anterior knee pain around the kneecap
  • Stiffness
  • Loss of full range of motion
  • Tenderness along the joint line
  • Chronic swelling
  • Knee instability
  • Difficulty kneeling
  • Numbness
  • Arthritis
  • Limp and/or discomfort while walking
  • Muscle weakness
  • Painful running
  • Fearful when returning to active lifestyle or sport

Do any of these symptom patterns sound familiar?

If it does, you’ve probably wondered what exactly is causing you to have one or more of these symptoms which are interfering with your life?

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably already searched the internet attempting to find the best post ACL treatments or exercises to help solve your problem.

During your search, you will come across many potential treatments like:

  • Return to sport testing
  • Neuromuscular testing
  • Hop testing
  • Strength testing
  • Stretching

And on, and on, and on…

To help you get back to their sport safely with minimal risk of re-injury, Form Physio and Rehab has adopted a world class post-op ACL Rehab Program from a team of specialists in this field from Australia. The program is broken up into 7 phases, and each phase has a very clear goal in order to get you back to sport as quickly and safely as possible.

The big mistake after ACL surgery

The big mistake most people do is they try and rush their return to sports too soon!  If you attempt to return to sports too soon after ACL surgery then you run the risk of tearing or re-injuring your new ACL… and since practicing a sport is among the most complex and demanding activities for the human body and in particular for the musculoskeletal system and joints. When an injury occurs, it stops the perfect machine that is the human body, which must then be restored to almost perfect conditions in order to allow a resumption of sports activity.

When the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is injured, ACL reconstruction is usually considered the gold standard of treatment, especially in active young patients. However, it is also necessary to consider various interconnected aspects (anatomy, biomechanics, and psychology) relating to the patient-athlete, as these can contribute to determine the outcome of the ACL reconstruction, which can range from successful to disastrous.

Whether you want to get back to a high level of sport or just want to be able to go for your daily runs at the park, you need to prepare your body for the pressure and forces of activity and minimise risk of a re-tear. 

Are you or someone you know post ACL surgery who want to be confident about your return to sport without risk of returning too soon? 

Do you want access to the same programs that athletes use to get back to sport?  If so, then we have the solution you have been looking for. If you would like more information on post-op ACL rehab, click the link below to schedule a free telephone consultation.


Supapong Juntharin

Supapong (Boss) Juntharin
Head of Education at Form Recovery and Wellness

Khun Supapong received a Degree in Physiotherapy from Rangsit University in Bangkok. Supapong is the Head of Education at Form Recovery and Wellness and works closely with our team to ensure that the quality of our treatment is always at the highest level and that we are always upskilling our skills.

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