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ACL Series: Will You Be Ready to Run In 3 Months?

It’s been a week since you’ve made the decision to get the ACL reconstruction surgery. It was a tough first week but the second week is better. You know how long it’ll take before you can start running. You’ve done a quick internet search and most places say 3 months until you can start to run again. Eager, you stick to your rehab program even on those days you’d prefer to skip. There’s a slight plateau for a week or two but soon you notice that you’re improving again. Just in time because the 3-month mark is almost here.

A week before the green light for running arrives, you start to question if it’s too soon. You’re definitely eager to get back to running but something doesn’t feel right. You don’t completely trust your knee. That makes no sense though, you were told by the Doctor that the knee is good to start running. You’re probably just worried for nothing.

What are you going to do? Start running because most sites told you that you can? Or will you listen to what your body is telling you?

I will tell you from my professional experience is that it is rare to have someone ready to run in 3 months. Your reattached ACL is probably going to do fine with the stress of running, and that’s what most health professionals mean when they mention 3 months.

When we are dealing with a reattachment we are also preparing the other muscles and structures in and around the knee that were affected by the initial tear and by the surgery. The major things I make sure my patients achieve are similar strength in both legs, and the ability to jump and land with proper loading and mechanics. Until those are achieved, running can be started. The sequence is important to avoid potential issues and compensations from not being ready.

Not only is the body not ready at 3 months but confidence needs to be regained as well. It’s okay not to feel confident in the knee, it went through a significant change. Taking a bit more time to progress and prepare the knee will build your trust in your knee as well.


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