How can I avoid injuring my ACL graft?

We think that roughly 20% of patients who undergo ACL reconstruction surgery eventually suffer a second injury. How can you prevent tearing your graft or the ACL in your opposite knee?

Judy asks:
Great blog. Thank you!
I am a 25-year-old female. I had my ACL reconstruction about 2 months ago using a patellar bone-patellar tendon-bone graft. Physio and rehab has been going really well, and I have started doing more heavy weight exercises. I am constantly worried about my graft failing or stretching because it happened to a friend of mine. What are the signs and symptoms that I need to watch out for which could signal that I’m harming my new ACL?
Thanks a lot!

I think that working hard with a physical therapist on regaining full strength, function, sport-specific activity and more can help you prepare for your return to sports, but it also gives you the best chance to avoid a second injury.

Also read:
Ask Dr. Geier – When can you return to sports after ACL surgery?
Ask Dr. Geier – When can I walk normally after ACL surgery?

Do you like to exercise or play sports, or do you have kids who play sports? In my new book, That’s Gotta Hurt: The Injuries That Changed Sports Forever, I discuss some of the advances made in the world of sports medicine that has helped athletes perform better, play longer and recover faster than ever before. You should read it! Pre-order your copy now from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, IndieBound or Powell’s Books.

Please remember, while I appreciate your questions, I cannot and will not offer specific medical advice by email, online, on my show, or in the comments at the end of these posts. My responses are meant to provide general medical information and education. Please consult your physician or health care provider for your specific medical concerns.

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david-headshot I am an orthopaedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist in Charleston, South Carolina.

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