Return to Running after an ACL Reconstruction: Where do we start?

The idea of getting back to sports, let alone running, following an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction surgery can be scary. The surgery itself is only part of the battle, the rehabilitation in physical therapy following the reconstruction is a large part of the road returning to running and playing sports.

Up until recently, the main criteria for return to running was time, where 12 weeks (3 months) was the marker for introducing running. However, over the past few years, research has shown that there are a number of factors (not only time) that must be taken into account before beginning to run after an ACL surgery.

But before we are able to run, we must first re-learn how to walk and normalize our gait. Achieving full knee range of motion (ROM) especially knee extension, appropriate muscle sequencing of the lower extremity and its correlation with the core and appropriate single leg stability should be milestones to achieve to build the foundation on our journey to walking and eventually running.


Are you working on the small details to ensure you’re optimizing your movement and functional capacity before returning to running? If you are unsure, reach out to one of our physical therapy offices in Glendale, Kew Gardens or Manhasset and schedule a visit with one of our doctors of physical therapy today.


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