Athletes often return to sports around 6-9 months after ACL reconstruction and Physical Therapy. In a previous ACL post we described how important these Physical Therapy sessions are to an athlete's recovery. Each session after surgery is designed to move the athlete closer to the all important return to play. New research is showing how instrumental this path to recovery is to reduce the risk of ACL re injury.
Grindem and colleagues studies 106 pivoting sports athletes who underwent ACL reconstruction and Physical Therapy. The athletes were followed for 2 years to document their rehabilitation, functional performance, and finally return to play. The authors reported athletes who returned to high level sports had 4 times the risk of re injury compared to lower and mid level sports participation. Among all athletes, those who did not pass their functional testing before returning were 8 times more likely to re injure their ACL. Importantly, this re injury rate was cut in half for each month the athlete stayed in rehabilitation and delayed their return to sport up until 9 months. In short, having athletes who complete 9 months of Physical Therapy and pass their functional tests can reduce their reinjury risk by 84%.
Athletes are advised to work with a local Physical Therapist for 9 months to allow a safe return to competitive sports.