The usual question that athletes have after undergoing anterior cruciate ligament or ACL surgery is how soon can they return to playing their favorite sport. Undergoing this procedure is not an easy task. The surgery is complicated and athletes have a long road of recovery ahead of them.
After the surgery, there is always the risk of a re-tear. The risk of re-injury is still high, even after all the advancements in medical technology and procedures. This puts the focus on recovery and rehabilitation. For an athlete, the risk of a re-tear is greatly reduced if they take proper time and measures such as physiotherapy and not be in a rush to resume sports.
The recommended timeline posts six months to a year. During this period the athlete has to give extra attention to maintain care, physiotherapy practices and adequate recovery time.
About 25% of athletes undergo a second revision within 6 years of the primary ACL revision and less than 50% of athletes are able to regain their pre-injury level of performance. This highlights the importance of taking the time to return to sports after ACL surgery.
At this point in time, one has to focus completely on recovery and regaining strength. Once there is minimal movement, the process of strength recovery begins. Extensive physiotherapy sessions, doctor consultations, and more such rehabilitative practices. All of these are aimed at reducing the risk of re-injury and further damage. With such precautions in place, the road to recovery becomes easier for athletes.
The general waiting period is upto or more than a year, after which most athletes are given permission to resume sports and other activities. This is done after evaluating muscle performance and healing. There are certain sports-specific training tests that are carried out to evaluate their recovery.
Apart from this, physical indicators like no pain with activity, no swelling, full range of motion, good stability, strength close to equal to the opposite side are taken into consideration.