ACL & Microfracture

After successful ACL reconstructure and microfracture to repair damaged cartilage in my knee my consultant has advised me not to run...ever (I am told running will potentially damage my already worn cartilage in both knees) I am not, nor do I ever intend to be, a long distance runner and I never suffer with anything more than niggling pain - mainly when walking DOWNstairs and so find it hard to accept this advice. Cross training, stair master, spin classes have just got nothing on the freedom to be able to throw on a pair of trainers and head out for a few miles in the fresh air. I don't want to be an idiot and ignore professional advice, but I would be interested to hear of others with similar experiences


  • I had ACL reconstruction in 2004 and have been able to go back to everything I did before. In fact, every physio I've seen has advised me to do the sports I want to and given me exercises to facilitate that. Have you seen a physio? I assume you must have. Obviously every case will be different, I guess, but I find it odd that you've been told to never run again.
  • Yeah - if it was just ACL recon, I'd have been ok, it is the damaged cartilage that is the problem. The microfracture (holes are hammered into the affected area of bone to encourage new cartilage growth) meant no impact exercise for at least 6 months. I hadn't anticipated being advised not to run at all. Sigh... 

  • Update - I have had a report on my recent MRI scan.  Apparently my cartilage is worn - thinner one side and I have "partial fissures" in the cartilage behind my knee cap, whcih is apparently why I find walking downstairs uncomfortable sometimes.  Physiotherapist AND my consultant basically ruled out any impact sports at all.  I am told that running will lead to earlier onset of arthritis.  I know that people carry on running with arthritis and various kinds of knee/other damage.  Am I stupid to consider ignoring the experts and giving running a gradual go again?
  • Mr Kelley number 2 - I gather you are a man of few words (judging by your other forum responses) and I appreciate your input.  I am hoping that there are other people out there with problem knees and an urge to run despite expert advice not to... Help please! :- {

  • I went for surgery for damaged cartilage (August 2012) in my knee and woke up to be told by the consultant that he had also performed a microfracture procedure (patella groove). It needed doing, I saw the pictures, so no issue.

    Also told by the consultant to ditch running and take up another sport.

    Hard to take as I have a ballot place in the VLM in April 2013.

    Physio's view was not that conclusive, build the right muscle groups to protect the patella, start Pilates and work on the core muscle groups and joint alignment and I might get round.

    Sold the treadmill, now have a cross trainer and static bike,

    Jury's out on the VLM, but just come through a weeks skiing, turned down a click or two so as not to stress the knee to much.

    But I have been accepted for Ride London (102 mile cycle ride) in August, so this may satisfy the competitive urge.

    Giving up running for good, it's a tough one, but in the long term I do want to walk un-aided for as long as I can.

    Good luck with whatever you decide...

  • Be careful about ignoring advice! Friend of my father got knee reconstruction and paid no attention to his consultant. Ended up wrecking the knee within a year and having to get the surgery done a second time. He was told the first time that with careful treatment his new knee would last 15 years and when it started to 'wear out' he could have it re-done, but that there was a max number of times the surgery could be performed (for physical reasons not NHS finances - his was private surgery) and that he should do everything he could to extend the life of his bionic knee. But he wrecked it so badly that they had to do the second reconstruction within a year and he was then told that he'd basically ruined his chance of being able to have another reconstruction 15 years down the line, and that if it failed again he'd be stuck with crutches!

    Problem is deciding whather your doctor/surgeon/consultant is giving you carefully thought out and sensible advice or whether they're one of those people who thinks that all sports are silly and risky and is giving you a blanket ban on all sorts of things just because of their attitude to sports... If I were you I'd ask for a second opinion, preferably from a sports specialist. That might give you a better idea.

  • Thanks Jedi - good to hear from someone who has had a similar experience.  Update on me - I have taken up running again.  I decided to start off gradually and I don't use running as my primary source of cardio, but late last year I completed three 10k races (and a few 5ks) - the highlight being a PB at the Bolsover 10k just before Xmas.   My training schedule combined running and cross training to reduce the impact and, although dull, cross trainer intervals were really useful in increasing my stamina.  My knee strength has definitely improved, which I have judged by how much I lift and how easily, using (one leg) quad and hamstring curls.  I do feel it when I overdo it though, so I have to "tred" carefully and allow plenty of recovery time between runs.   I won't be doing any marathons, but having the option to throw on my trainers for a 4 or 5 miler once a week has really made me smile.  Good luck and don't too too much too soon. image

  • ACL recon is not the problem. The micro fracture, and what grows in it's place, maybe especially if you start loading too soon and too much.

    OS are great surgeons, they are crap physios. Just as physios are crap surgeons etc etc. A closed case book of "don't run" will ultimately help your knee, but that's not to say that running will harm it.

    You need to get someone to look at how you run, what you run in and give some poker faced advise as to what is achievable and advisable. Until then, all bets are off.

  • "Runs with Dogs"- that sounds brilliant and I did a bit of that at the weekend (small bursts only as I was in wellies).  Your very sensible advice is something I have already considered and I did not run for about a year after my knee operation and my return more regular running was very gradual.  I don't run all the time - but I go to the gym a few times a week, so I have access to other cardio options and that makes it easier.  My knees are prone to feeling creaky when I have done a lot of any exercise, but I just work around it and try to keep a happy medium.

Sign In or Register to comment.