Running After ACL Reconstruction

As per our previous blog post we continue to explore the main challenges after an anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR). Our recent posts discussed the pillars for excellent rehabilitation and this post aims to explore when individuals are ready to return to running after surgery.

Running is often noted as a major milestone for patients as it signifies the ability to move dynamically and work up a sweat. Although there are often strict instructions for this process it is quite a freeing experience for patients. 

​​A great research piece published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine has reviewed the important elements to consider before returning to running. Not surprisingly the return to running should be individualised to every patient. Every person’s knee is different, some people do their rehab more than others and sometimes each surgery is quite different. Therefore the return to running should not be a blanket rule or a one size fits all approach.

Having said this, the research paper found that the average time for the return to running was 12 weeks and the authors commented that no universal timeline exists. BUT returning to running is not about the lapsing of a time period! Physiotherapists have strict criteria before running is commenced. This will include good lower limb muscle strength, patient completing regular rehabilitation, close to 100% knee range of motion, minimal pain and good dynamic knee control among other thing.

If you are unable to tick off each of the above areas running should not be a given just because the surgery was more than 12 weeks ago. Time doesn’t heal all wounds.

If you have any questions regarding the process of ACLR rehabilitation or are unsure of your running status get in touch with one of our physiotherapists here at PeakMSK Physiotherapy. 

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* Conferred by Fellowship of the Australian College of Physiotherapists in 2010