Asked 8 years, 4 months ago

Can I Run Without an ACL?

Can I Run Without an ACL?

I am a 56-year-old female, 5’ 4”, 120 lbs, and have been running for 13 years. I average 15 to 20 miles per week, usually three to five miles once or twice, then a longer run on the weekend. I also do strength training, stationary biking, and yoga several times a week.

I enjoy long distance running, doing the run/walk method mostly on concrete or asphalt. I have run 15 marathons in the last five years (averaging three or four a year), with finishing times of 5:30 to 6:00. On training runs we average about a 13- to 14-minute mile pace. While on a skiing vacation a month ago, I fell and tore the ACL in my right knee (confirmed by MRI when I got home). My orthopedist recommended physical therapy three times a week to strengthen the knee instead of ACL repair surgery, in part due to my age and the risks of surgery as one ages. He explained that surgery would be necessary if I participated in sports; I stressed to him that I wanted to be able to run again. He said that it’s possible to run without an intact ACL.

I’m finishing my second week of rehab and noticing some improvement. The knee still feels unstable, however, though I’m told to be patient. I’m wondering should I give up marathoning once it heals and focus on shorter distances? Can I realistically expect to run at all with a torn ACL, even after rehab? I just want to return to running as I was before.

Jane Forrester
Baton Rouge, LA


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