Holly B. is an active professional in her late twenties who spends her free time playing recreational flag football and league basketball. She shares her experience with us as she explores the world of sports.
It’s been nearly two years since my ACL surgery and I thought it would be helpful for anyone considering ACL repair or who is currently recovering from ACL surgery to share my progress. Well, what I’ve learned is that ACL recovery varies greatly from person to person. From my own experience and opinion, it depends on two factors: your body and your effort.
Honestly, I haven’t done too much in terms of getting back into sports since my ACL reconstruction surgery. Real life took over – work and parenting – so I didn’t have as much time to devote to recreational sports. Ideally I think I would continue strengthening the muscle area around my knee before returning to sports to help stabilize the joint. I’d also feel more comfortable returning to sports with an ACL knee brace. It would help give me peace of mind that I’m lowering my risk of re-injury and it would provide support to my knee.
Could I start playing basketball and football again? Yes, I think so with some training. Overall I’ve healed up nicely – I’d say that my body rebounded well, but I haven’t put any effort into getting back into physical activity. That’s probably the only thing that slowed my progress.
Here’s some situations from my friends who have had ACL surgery:
- Man in his early 20s – He put lots of effort into his ACL recovery in order to return to playing sports. He now wears an ACL knee brace and was back to playing sports within his first year. In fact, he started light running again around four months post-op… I’m not sure his doctor would have liked that!
- Woman around my age in her late 20s – She tore her ACL around the same time I did, and she’s started working out consistently and is fairly active. Her recovery was slower… I think my body rebounded more quickly, but that she put more effort into physical therapy.
- Woman in her early 40s – I actually met her in my basketball league and knew she had tore it at some point because she was wearing an ACL knee brace. She had some amazing movement at point guard. I wouldn’t have guessed her age based on how she was moving. I found out later it had only been a few years since her tear… and she actually tore hers playing flag football in the same recreational league that I participated in!
So as you can see, ACL tear recovery can have a wide spectrum of results. I think for most people, if you put the effort toward physical therapy and returning to sports, that you’ll be back before you know it! Follow your doctors’ guidelines and you’ll be just fine.