6 Tips to Return to Sports After a Knee Ligament (ACL) Surgery [Easy Guide for Athletes]

What is an ACL?

The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is the main ligament that helps to stabilize the knee joint. Athletes and recreational aficionados can suffer from an ACL tear at any age, particularly those who take part in high demand sports like soccer, football, basketball or volleyball. After surgery, athletes have an understandable tendency to be very anxious to get back to the sport they love.

Read on, to find out how to do it in the fastest, healthiest, and most efficient way.

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When can an ACL tear happen?

It can tear if you:

Will I need surgery for an ACL tear?

ACL injuries can either be complete or partial. When there is a partial ACL tear, a hard decision about surgery needs to be taken. ACL reconstruction involves substantial rehabilitation (up to 6 months). The decision about when ACL reconstruction is necessary can be a difficult one. This is why you should first be assessed by an of the experienced orthopedic doctors in Boca Raton (sports medicine in Boca Raton).

After your ACL surgery, if you want to make sure you go back to practicing your favorite sport fast, you should follow these tips:

1. Proper Bracing.

Before getting back to any type of activity, make sure you have enough knee support.
Some surgeons will provide you with a brace, which limits your knee’s movement (range of motion) after surgery. Your physical therapist will fit you with the brace and show you how to use it safely. Some athletes will be fitted for braces as they recover and think of returning to their sports activities.

2. Reduce Swelling.

You'll be instructed by your surgeon to elevate your leg as much as possible after your surgery. You can do it by putting pillows under your feet when you're in bed.

You may be given an ice sleeve, that fits around your knee and compresses it in order to relieve the pain and swelling. Ask your surgeon how often you should use the ice sleeve. If you don't have an ice sleeve, you may place a pack of frozen peas wrapped in a cloth on your swollen knee.

3. Increase Range of Motion

Your surgeon or physiotherapist can recommend an individualized rehabilitation program for you. It's crucial that you follow the program, so your recovery is as successful as possible. This program will be the main factor in increasing and keeping the range of motion in your knee.

4. Train your balance

Some balance exercises may help you lightly shift your weight onto the surgery leg. These activities will slowly advance to standing on the affected leg, while on fixed and unsteady surfaces to challenge your balance.

5. Progressively Build Into Your Sports Activity

As athletes reclaim strength and balance, they may start running, jumping, hopping, and other exercises characteristic for their specific sport. This stage varies greatly from person to person and is supervised by your physician (sports medicine Boca Raton).

6. Take care of your positive attitude

According to the article by C.L. Ardern and N. F. Taylor, approximately 20% of all patients undergoing ACL reconstruction cite psychological factors as a primary reason of not returning to the competitive sport, following ACL reconstruction surgery.

Patients who adaptively cope with their injury or pain have a much higher chance of returning to their previous activities. Self-efficacy and optimism seem to have the strongest influence on return to sports after ACL reconstruction.

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Sports Medicine Boca Raton

If you have any questions about ACL tear surgery or rehabilitation, our sports medicine doctors in Boca Raton provide total management of patient care in Palm Beach County.

If you’d like to find out more about us, our doctors, and our facilities, or you want to make an appointment, contact us. We will help you stay healthy and happy!


The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.


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