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Training after ACL surgery

Answered By Not an expert


My daughter is a high school senior who is going to be playing soccer in college. As part of the college team's fitness test in August, she has to run a 6:30 mile and 12-minute 1.75-mile (7 laps) run. However, she had ACL reconstruction surgery in mid-December and is only now beginning to jog. (About 2 miles several times per week.) Beginning in June, she can sprint. Can you suggest a workout plan targeted to those goals and her unique situation? Thank you.


In regards to ACL reconstruction there are various procedures and timelines utilized for successful return-to-play making your question difficult. Although this question may best be answered by the individual responsible for your daughter’s rehab I can give you some insight to help prepare her.  If approved by her therapist, I would suggest interval training.  Interval training is essentially running a distance broken into sections with rest in between.  For example, rather than running two continuous miles, run 200 meters 16 times with 45 seconds rest in between.  This will allow your daughter to increase her cardiovascular fitness and allows her to adjust to the intensity of training more easily.  As she progresses the intervals may get longer or the rest periods may get shorter until she feels she is ready to attempt the test runs.  Performing intervals 1-2 days per week along with a day of slower paced continuous run would be a great start.  Keep in mind also that exercises to strengthen her core, hips, and legs and low intensity plyometric exercises will increase her running economy and allow her to run more efficiently.  Again, I would suggest discussing this matter with her therapist who knows your daughters progress, strength levels, etc.   Doug Wolf, MS, ATC, CSCS Children's Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center 584 County Line Road West Westerville, Ohio43081 wolfd@chi.osu.edu

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