Dr. Johnson explains when a woman can return to normal physical activity following anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) surgery.
Returning to sports and exercise is really, you shouldn’t give a blanket statement. So in other words, playing competitive soccer on an indoor team, you know, you are now in your 20s, you have finished college, but you said, “I got a real job now, but I am going to play on this indoor team.” A lot of females do that. That’s very different than maybe playing a tennis match once a month.
But in general, I would say guidelines are that that can be anywhere from six months to up to a year, and a lot of that depends on what you want to do and how much you’ve committed to your rehab. But in general, I think guidelines we give are, you should be off crutches, walking normally, looking normally to your family and friends a couple of months after ACL surgery.
So a reasonable goal is two months after surgery when your family and friends see you walking at the local mall, that you look like, “Wow, she looks great two months after surgery.” But a return to ACL-dependent sports, so going back to that indoor team you volunteered for, playing tennis on the weekends, that can be up to six months after ACL surgery. So it’s a, you know, it’s a stepwise progression of placing further challenges on the knee.
About Dr. Johnson, M.D.:
Dr. Darren L. Johnson, M.D., received his medical degree from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine. He completed his residency at the University of Southern California School of Medicine, Los Angeles and his fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Dr. Johnson is currently Professor and Chairman of Orthopaedic Surgery and Director of Sports Medicine at the University of Kentucky. His clinical interests include arthroscopy, knee and shoulder reconstruction and the double-bundle procedure for ACL repair.
Dr. Johnson was named among the Top Doctors for Women by Women’s Health magazine in 2008.