Getting Back to Sports After ACL Surgery: What You Need to Know

Suffering an injury to your anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) that requires surgery can put you out of the game for an extended period of time, leaving you to wonder how long it will be until you can get back to being physically active.

At Douglas J. Abeles, MD and Associates, your health and recovery are of utmost importance. Returning to sports or any activity without restriction after ACL surgery involves a lot of factors that your surgeon must consider before your release.

Under the guidance of your surgeon, your return will depend on factors like:

Taking all these factors into consideration plays a large part in the decision of when you can be cleared to return to your usual activities and your favorite sports.

A closer look at your recovery

The factors that influence your ability to resume an active lifestyle include:


Your genetic background is a large part of your recovery. How your body responds to the reconstruction surgery will make an impact on your ability to return to your chosen sport.

In some people, recovery from ACL surgery is slow and steady. Others may heal more quickly. Dr. Abeles and his team consider your specific biological needs following your surgery to determine how soon you’re ready to become active again.

Type of surgery

The graft technique your surgeon uses can influence how quickly you can recover from ACL surgery. The technique decision your surgeon makes is based on the nature of your injury and the structure of your body.

Depending on your specific needs, your surgeon will perform a graft that ensures your ligaments can function normally and withstand pressure when you get back to your usual activities.

Rehabilitation progress

Soon after your ACL surgery, your surgeon will likely get you started in rehab therapies to rebuild your strength and improve your recovery time.

Specific rehab goals are set, and depending on how well you can reach these milestones, you may be released to return to sports earlier than expected. Your progress in rehab may also indicate your body needs more time to heal.

Mental motivation

Not only does your physical strength and endurance count during your recovery from ACL surgery, your mental motivation is also a vital factor in how fast you can return to the game.

Being down and out for several months can cause mental strain, leaving you feeling stressed and depressed. By keeping healthy expectations about your initial restrictions and expected recovery time, you can reduce the length of time it takes you to get back into a physically-active lifestyle.

Maintaining perspective

The ultimate goal following ACL surgery for both you and your surgeon is to allow your body the time it needs to heal completely and correctly. Returning to activities too soon and before your body is ready can lead to long-term complications. Reinjuring your ACL can even put you out of the game for good.

With the right expectations and a customized recovery plan, you don’t have to let an ACL injury take you down for good. With the guidance of Dr. Abeles and his team, you can successfully return to the sports and activities you love.

Find out more about the benefits of ACL surgery by scheduling a consultation with Dr. Abeles and his team online or by phone.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Can Disc Herniation Heal on Its Own?

It may take a few months and require some effort on your part, but a disc herniation can heal on its own. Click here to learn what you can do to get relief from your herniated disc symptoms.

What Is De Quervain’s Syndrome?

De Quervain’s syndrome may be hard to pronounce, but it's even harder to live with. It’s a common condition that causes wrist pain and swelling. Learn about this wrist and thumb disorder and how to treat it.