Skip to main content

How Soon Can I Run After an ACL Injury?

Sports and activities that involve sudden stops, jumps, and fast changes of direction raise the risk of damage to a particular ligament that stretches diagonally across the middle of the knee. Damage to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) can sideline you for months. 

Every ACL injury has its own recovery timeline, and there seems to be a correlation between recovery time and reinjury. The longer you avoid returning to risky activities, the better your chances of sidestepping future ACL injury in the same or other knee. 

Effective treatment sets you up for successful healing. The knee pain specialists at 360 Orthopedics regularly treat ACL injuries, one of the most common knee injuries, and we can guide you through the recovery process with the aim of avoiding reinjury. 

The anatomy of the knee

The knee joint, the largest and one of the most complex joints in your body forms at the intersection of the femur and tibia, the major bones of the thigh and shin, respectively. A third bone, the patella, acts as a shield to protect the soft tissue within the joint. You know this bone as your kneecap. 

Ligaments attach bone to bone and act as stabilizers, keeping the movement of joints within their design limits. When over-extended, ligaments can sprain or tear. The ACL works together with the posterior cruciate ligament, controlling the forward and backward movement of the knee. 

Given its role in front-to-back movement, it’s not surprising that the ACL is vulnerable to knee motion in other directions, such as the twists and strains involved with fast turns, lunges, and jumping. 

How soon can I run after an ACL injury? 

Given the range of injuries that the ACL can sustain, there’s no easy answer to questions about a recovery timeline. Generally, mild injuries mean faster healing, while more major damage could require surgery and longer recovery, in which physical therapy may play an important role. 

Mild ACL injuries may leave the ligament intact but may be subject to micro tears that need time to heal. The overall strength of the ACL remains compromised until your body repairs these tiny tears. 

Moderate and severe ACL injuries usually take the form of partial or complete tears. Rehabilitative physical therapy is typically the first treatment to reduce inflammation, ease knee pain, and build strength in the knee’s support muscles. You may also use a brace or crutches to minimize further knee strain. 

Surgery to rebuild the ACL may require grafts of tendon tissue. After a period where this new tissue integrates with the ACL, you’ll enter another phase of knee rehab. 

Generally, there’s no set timeline for a return to activity and running after an ACL injury. Expect about a year before you can return to normal intensity. Our doctors monitor your progress and will keep you updated as you progress through treatment. 

For the finest ACL treatment, contact 360 Orthopedics at the nearest Gulf Coast locations by phone or online to schedule your personal consultation today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Can Trigger Finger Go Away On Its Own?

Can Trigger Finger Go Away On Its Own?

A disorder of the tendons in your hand and their ability to move freely, the colorfully named trigger finger may affect any finger or thumb. It can sometimes leave a patient looking like they’re pulling the trigger on an invisible pistol.

The Link Between Neck Pain and Headaches

Is your neck pain causing your headache? Or is it your headache causing problems in your neck? There’s no easy answer since it could be either of these, or it might also be two separate issues.
 3 Ways PRP Therapy Can Help Relieve Shoulder Pain

 3 Ways PRP Therapy Can Help Relieve Shoulder Pain

The shoulder is the most flexible joint in the body and one of the most complex. The bones, muscles, and other support tissues give these joints amazing mobility and strength, though they can often prove difficult to treat when things go wrong.
 Eat This Not That: Pain Management Edition

Eat This Not That: Pain Management Edition

When you suffer from chronic pain, everything you can do to help ease pain is welcome. This can even extend to the foods you eat. Consider this your Eat This, Not That, Pain Management Edition

Your Ultimate Guide to Rehabbing a Strained Muscle

Muscle strains range from minor overstretching to partial or full tearing of tissue. Your rehab period depends on the extent of your injury. Here’s what you can expect for the most common strained muscle injuries.
3 Ways to Keep Your Kid's Cast Clean

3 Ways to Keep Your Kid's Cast Clean

Casts are a necessary treatment device when your child has a broken bone or other condition that requires immobilization of a body part to aid healing. Kids being kids, it’s sometimes a challenge to keep the cast clean.