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Return to sport after ACL reconstruction

Original Post
Taylor S · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 0

Hi all,

I have a few questions regarding the return to sport process after an ACL reconstruction.

After returning from rehabilitating your knee did/have you find psychological factors have had an impact of your ability or decision to return to sport in a negative or positive way? Why do you believe this is?

1. How many months did you rehabilitate your knee for before returning to sport? Are you still playing and for how long? Do you believe you have returned to your pre injury playing level?

2. What, if any, information or assistance were you provided with regarding the psychological transition back to sport?

I myself, am still in the rehabilitation period after an ACL reconstruction whereby I am 11 months post op and hope to return playing basketball as soon as I am fit to do so. However I would like gain some knowledge with regards to how others in the same position as myself, make/made the mental and physical transition from strengthening and rehabilitating their knee to playing sport at pre-injury level in a competitive environment.

These questions may be used as part of a research project that I am undergoing, so I hope that along with your knowledge and consent I can use your experience to not only benefit my research but my personal transition back into playing sport.

Thanks in advance!

Jon Nelson · · Bellingham, WA · Joined Sep 2011 · Points: 4,680

1. 2.5 months to top-roping.
Yes, still "playing".
Yes to top-roping level (by about 4 months post-op).
No to bouldering level (now, at 5 months post-op).
No to leading level (same).

2. Various words of caution from the doctor.

rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 525

I had mine done going on five years ago at age 68, so recovery times need to have the age factor considered. Partial meniscus dissection was also required.

I rehabbed religiously and followed all instructions. My first exercises beyond the prescribed ones were hiking with poles, which I think contributed a lot to recovery. I don't recall how soon this was but it was relativey quickly. I started on a loop trail that allowed me to quit after a mile or two if I didn't feel up to more. I gradually transitioned to trail running with poles, which I still do.

I was leading moderate climbs after about seven months. In spite of continual efforts, I lost some ability to fully bend my knee. So climbing moves that involve a high step and weight shift, which would end up with me "sitting" on the high foot's heel, are not possible for me any more.

Honestly, I think it was two or three years before I stopped thinking about the fact that one knee was compromised. And I don't feel that I could ever do something like play basketball, with its intense weight-bearing pivoting motions, as I feel some pain if I'm forced to pivot this way while running. Whether, as you suggest, this is a psychological fear as opposed to a realistic one I cannot say, but the effect is real either way.

There is no way for me to sort out the contributions made by the ACL repair and the meniscus dissection, but all the pain I experience (when I have pain, which is rarely) is at the site of the removed meniscus, so I assume that it is that part of the procedure which accounts for symptoms this far from the original operation.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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