If the surgery was successful and appropriate time was dedicated to rest and rehab, then usually there are no physical limitations for returning to sports. There are, however, mental road blocks that often pop up.
It is estimated that between one third and two thirds do not return to their pre-injury level of activity, despite an okay from their doctor. The fear of pain or getting hurt again is very real for many patients, and sometimes can be too tough to overcome... resulting in participating at a lesser intensity than what they are used to or giving up their sport altogether.
ACL patients who do choose to return to their pre-injury level of activity typically report:
- Better knee function
- A positive surgical and rehabilitation experience
- Improved outlook on their overall physical well-being
- Positive self-task and mental imagery
- Goal-setting with specific dates and timelines to ease back into previous sports routines
- Enlisting a friend or teammates to help with motivation