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ACL Tears

Returning To Work And Activities After ACL Surgery

Last modified: 
09/07/2012 - 14:37

Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

These are the general guidelines for returning to work and returning to sports following ACL surgery. There is great variation in the time span needed for each individual.

Returning To Work

Returning to work will depend on the physical nature of the activity:

  • If your job involves sitting down, some surgeons may allow return to work as soon as a week after surgery.
  • If your job requires standing, it may be four to six weeks before return to work is recommended.
  • If your job requires lifting moderate loads or climbing activities, recovery time may need to be as long as two to four months.

Return To Sports

Expect to be able to...

  • Jog at four months
  • Road cycle at four to five months
  • Run in a straight line at five months
  • Perform agility drills such as figure eight's, as well as light cutting using the functional brace, at around six to eight months

To achieve this successfully, you need to stick with the rehab program arranged by your surgeon and physical therapist.

Sports-specific changes may be initiated anywhere from four to 24 months, depending upon the physician's protocol.

Nice To Know:

A rule of thumb in returning to sports activities following ACL surgery is that the injured leg should have 85 to 90 percent of the quadriceps and hamstring strength compared to the pre-surgical level. 

This is determined by the physical therapist or physician using simple strength tests called isokinetic tests .

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ACL Tears

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From Andrew Maynard - Chair of the University of Michigan Department of Environmental Health Sciences, with help from David Faulkner - 2013 Master of Public Health graduate.