Knee injuries such as a torn anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, are common among athletes. According to orthopedic surgeon Cordelia W. Carter, MD, director of the Center for Women’s Sports Health and co-director of the Center for Young Athletes at NYU Langone, the severity of the knee injury will determine whether surgery is necessary. A sprain or partial tear may require rehabilitation, while a completely torn ACL will likely require reconstructive surgery.
ACL reconstruction is a multistep process: first, you and the surgeon will determine where the tissue used to fashion the new ACL will come from; then the surgeon will examine your knee arthroscopically before securing the new tissue in place.
Wondering when you might be able to return to your pre-injury activity? “Many patients will be able to jog, cycle, and swim three months after surgery,” Dr. Carter tells Bicycling. “With dedicated work toward endurance and strength goals, most patients return to sport between 6 and 12 months following surgery.”
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