Is there an optimal time to return to sports after an injury or surgery? In this Ask Dr. Geier video, I discuss how long an athlete can expect to miss after undergoing ACL surgery for an ACL tear.

Slade writes:

Hello. I am a proffessional rugby league player in Australia. I have undergone my second ACL reconstruction on my left knee. The hamstring graft failed and now I have a patellar graft. Do you think there is an optimum time to come back to contact sports? I came back at 10 months. I’m thinking about waiting 12 months this time. Any thoughts on this?

Orthopedic surgeons often give patients a rough estimate of how long they will take to return
to sports after a variety of injuries. These estimates are usually averages based on what other patients have done. However, injuries can be more or less severe, and the nature of the recovery and demands of the sport played can influence the time it takes to return.

With ACL surgery, specifically an ACL reconstruction, it can often take 9 to 12 months before an athlete feels like the knee is normal and she can do what she needs to do on the field. Getting to that point can be challenging, and I explain the process in this video.

Also read:
Ask Dr. Geier – Wearing a brace to play with an ACL injury
Ask Dr. Geier: Risk of tearing the ACL graft or the opposite knee’s ACL

Soccer player wearing knee brace after ACL surgery

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