When can my daughter return to soccer after ACL surgery?

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction takes about six months of rehabilitation until an athlete can be cleared to play in a contact sport. This time frame can vary based on how the athlete responds to the rehabilitation treatment. It is a long process, and the athlete must stick to the rehabilitation protocol to seek the best results. At the beginning of rehabilitation, it is important to decrease pain and inflammation and increase range of motion of the knee. Once the swelling is controlled and most of the motion is back, your daughter can start strengthening exercises. She will also work on her balance and proprioception.

Usually around four months post-operation, if the athlete has good balance, proprioception, and strength, they can start a running program. They will then progress to a plyometric and jumping program and eventually be able to participate in their sport.

It is also important that you know that each surgeon has their own rehabilitation protocol that they want their patients to follow. This, too, will have an effect on the time frame to return to sport. It is imperative that the athletic trainer and physical therapist have good communication with the physician to help the athlete along the rehabilitation process.

(This answer provided for NATA by the King College Athletic Training Education Program.)

Continue Learning about Muscle & Connective Tissue Injuries

What is an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear?
NewYork-Presbyterian HospitalNewYork-Presbyterian Hospital
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the major stabilizing ligaments in the knee. A torn A...
More Answers
What is ACL reconstruction surgery?
Reston Hospital CenterReston Hospital Center
An ACL reconstruction is a surgical replacement of the torn ACL.
More Answers
How is body tissue used in ACL reconstruction surgery?
Riverside Community HospitalRiverside Community Hospital
An ACL reconstruction using your own tissue is generally done with one of two types of tissues in th...
More Answers
What should I expect after knee ligament surgery?
Reston Hospital CenterReston Hospital Center
Depending on the type of knee ligament reconstruction, expect a recovery time of about six to twelve...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.