Torn ACL, now what???

Hi there, I have been reading various threads with interest and thought some advice might be good for my current problem.

I injured my right knee playing cricket in July and after 4 months of physio have finally had the results of my MRI scan which have shown up a partial tear to my Medial Ligament and complete tear to my ACL.  My consultant is supposedly booking me in for a chat with the knee surgeon to see what can be done.

I wondered what experience people on here have had with this as my consultant indicated that in some cases reconstruction of the ACL is not done and it may be possible to build up the Quads and Hamstrings to avoid the need for a reconstruction.

In all honesty the injury has not entirely stopped me running, although it has severely reduced my training due to instability, nevertheless I still managed to complete the GNR only 8 mins outside my PB this year, which I was pretty chuffed about given that I had only trained a handful of times in the two months running up to it.

I suppose what I am after is advice on whether going through the pain etc of an operation is worth it or should I just try and negate the damage to the ACL by strengthening?

Any advice gratefully received.

Cheers Matt.


  • Having attended a talk recently where a consultant discussed the pro's and con's of surgery I would say if you've had 4 months of good rehab, and still have instability affecting what you want to do you should seriously consider the surgery.

    However you do need to remember the hard work and commitment required to recover from this surgery.

  • Hi Matt,

    I had virtually the same injury from skiing many moons ago, but I didn't realise i'd totally ruptured the ACL at the time; I thought it was only a partial tear. I found out otherwise when my knee gave out one day as a result of cartilage damage (bucket tear) and an op for that revealed the ruptured ACL!! Anyway, I wasn't a runner at the time, and because of the time lapse between the actual accident, and the cartilage op, I didn't bother getting reconstructive surgery. I did get problems with my knee last year when training for a marathon, specifically in my medial ligament, but this came on after running downhill, and I don't think it was directly correlated to my previous injury, but it impossible to say.

    I'd always err on the side of caution when it comes to surgery; if you are doing okay without it, why put yourself through it? It will take a while to recover, and you also have to think of missed time from work, commuting issues etc etc. I think with a good strengthening program, and any rehab stretches or work your physio has given you, you should be okay. I did lots of quad work when I had my accident, and that saw me though, albeit I wasn't sporty then (other than skiing), so I wasn't gearing towards recovering so I could run again.

    Have you taken advice from your consultant at all in terms of whether they think surgery is worth it at this stage? I know two people with the same injuries, and both had ops. One is back playing football (girl), and the other isn't (boy) as his knee is just fecked for it! Sorry if this isn't exactly stellar advice, but in my experience you can do okay with the ruptured ACL and damaged medial ligament. Good luck!
  • Tough Call. My daughter ruptured hers playing football and took a year to get back to some degree of strength back in it, A colleague is just started running again after a year, but what is interesting is that he did all the exercises and is quite besottled by that type of thing and still took that time. Me, Similar to other writers I have ruptured mine no dioubt playing rugby and only found out when they did my cartilage. The advice was to carry on doing what you are doing or have it done or wait to it is really unstable by which time i propably need a replacement knee! oh joy! BUT i have run two marthons with mine and loads of races. I am fine running in straight lines and exercises that are done in that plane. I can still play football but occasionally it lets me know that it is not happy and i have to stop.

    I am currently doing loads of squats to keep the strength. An interesting fact, When the All blacks toured two years ago they reckon that 70 % of the squad had ACL damage but because of their hamstrings strength they were still able to play competitive rugby and they would have the operation when they finished playing!

    As they say the choice is yours!

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