Asked 8 years, 4 months ago

How long should it take to recover from an ACL tear?

ACL Repair and Return to Running

I am a 120-lb female in my 50s and I have been running for 13 years. I average three to five miles once or twice during the week, then a longer run on the weekend, totaling about 15 or 20 miles. I have run 15 marathons in the last 5 years, using the run/walk method, with finishing times of 5:00 to 6:00. A month ago on a ski vacation, I fell and tore my right ACL.

My orthopedic surgeon recommended physical therapy three times a week instead of surgery; he stressed that if I participated in sports such as basketball or tennis, surgery on my knee would be necessary, but that running would be possible without an intact ACL.

At times my knee feels unstable and as though it will never heal. Is it simply too soon to know? Should I give up marathoning and stick to shorter distances? Is it even possible to run without an intact ACL? At my age, how dangerous is ACL surgery versus the more conservative physical therapy approach?

Josephine Moore
Palmdale, CA


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