Athletes Tearing ACLs

These videos may feel painful even to watch. It shows athletes actually tearing their ACLs on camera- examples of how this typically occurs in a sports.

Tennis ACL Tear

Football ACL Tear

Soccer ACL Tear

Basketball ACL Tear

Wrestling ACL Tear

69 thoughts on “Athletes Tearing ACLs”

  1. My 17 year old son tore his ACL in April of 2008 playing soccer. He had the Patellar graft recon. done. He did the rehab for 6 months was released and went back to playing soccer. Three games in, he tore it again, same knee. Obviously he was devastated. The second recon, the surgeon did the hamstring graft with an additional belt procedure on the MCL to tighten it up more. Apparently the MCL stretched as a result of the first injury. He is still rehabing, so not sure what the outcome will be. My son may not play again because he is afraid of tearing it again. The surgeon says this procedure will be strong than the first one, just a more invasive procedure, that is why the hamstring graft is not done as much. Hope this helps.

    1. Hi, Im 18 and just found out yesterday i have torn my ACL in my right knee for the second time in under a year. I did it first Sep 2012, i was pretty disappointed but just worked real hard every day in rehab ( btw i got a patella graft) i gradually went from straightening my knee out fully to bending it as far as my bum to single leg squats to jogging straight lines to sprinting to agility work to training again( for soccer) i felt great and my knee felt better than ever before even pre acl injury. !

      However my first competitive match on astro turf is where it happened again. I jumped into a turn and heard a crack ( not a pop ) and had to be carried off, i drove home crying, knowing i done it again, i am completely mystified as to why it happened again as i went by the book and more on rehab, i was told to come back after 8 monnths and decided not to, so i could to extra rehab and strenghten my knee even more. But it was to no avail, and honestly im at a low point in my life now, as sport is everything to me and i havent had a chance to show my full potential and now, probaly never will.

      Ive nothing else to do but spend my parents money once again on all the physio and work back to what my knee once was. Best of luck everyone i hope you are all successful in your recovery.

    2. Hi,

      I have a 17 year old with the same exact scenario, laying soccer and tore the ACL, he’s having his surgery in 1 week, and the Dr. recommends the hamstring graft. he has offers to paly college soccer and want to return to full game. I read your sons story and I was wondering how he is doing now, has he been able to go back to soccer?
      thank you for your insight.

  2. Hamstring repairs which used to be popular are receiving a resurgence in popularity in the past couple years. This graft involves harvesting tendons which come down the leg on the inner side of the knee, then once again channeling them through drill holes in the tibia, across the knee, and then fixed into the femur. This source of graft material had lost its popularity for some time due to perceived weakness compared to the patellar tendon repairs. However, newer techniques involving the way the graft is doubled or even quadrupled over itself and then fixed in different ways have its proponents showing biomechanical evidence of suitable strength. With the issue of suitable strength set aside, proponents feel that this repair technique offers advantages related to quicken rehab time since the patella and tendon have not been interfered with to obtain a graft material.

  3. I have had both hamstring and patellar grafts done.
    I tore my right ACL while playing high school soccer when i was 16 and had a patellar tendon graft along with medial collateral ligament repair, medial and lateral meniscus repairs. I still have pain in my right knee when i squat and sometimes when im running. The rehad was awful and i was in pain for at least 3 weeks post op.

    I am currently now 2 weeks post op from my second ACL reconstruction. I am now 25 and tore my left ACL and lateral meniscus while playing soccer. This time I had a hamstring graft. The post op pain was minimal compared to the last surgery and my rehad is going much smoother. I can almost put full weight on my knee without any pain. I still have to take it easy and slow because the down side to the hamstring is it takes longer to heal and be secure. The patellar graft is secured with bone grafts and screws which are alot more painful but are said to heal faster.

    The swelling and bruising from the hamstring was nothing compared to what I experienced with the patellar graft. My first ACL reconstruction my leg swelled to 3 times its size and my entire knee and half my lower leg and upper leg were bruised heavily. This time around i have very little bruising and swelling so that is really helping with my extension and flexion. I had full extension 1 week post op. Im still working on the full flexion. Im at about 120 degrees and my knee was at 130 pre-op.

    I have read that the hamstring graft is not as strong, i have not yet been able to test that but im not a competitive soccer player anymore so it doesn’t matter much to me anymore. I can say that after my first surgery i was never able to play soccer as well again. I had scholarships lined up to play in college but after high school i stopped playing competitively.

    Scaring- Patellar graft I have about a 5 inch scar down the center of my knee. the scar for the hamstring is about an inch and a half long. My left knee (2 weeks post op) already looks better than my right knee ever did.

    If i ever had to do it again (which i pray i don’t because its the most painful surgery i have ever experienced, twice, and i have had my fair share of surgeries) I would do the hamstring graft again hands down!

    1. im 16 and currently play competitive soccer ALL THE TIME. I had made the decision to want to play in college and have already started communicating with college coaches. Just from experience, if you had wanted to continuing playing soccer, would you have gotten the hamstring for your first surgery instead? Mind you our situations may be a tad different because i just tore my acl and nothing else.

  4. It’s so great to see so many contributors to this site! 🙂
    Well, I partially tore my left ACL on 4/26/10 jumping up and down at a pep rally (I’m a cheerleader). I had surgery a little over a week later with a surgeon who specializes in ACL reconstructions on athletes, which I found extremely comforting, using my hamstring graft. The first couple of days post-op, my hamstring really hurt, especially when applying pressure to it.
    Now, at almost five weeks post-op, I have no more hamstring pain! It’s so great, I’m even back to doing the normal sitting static stretches my cheer squad does with no pain. I may not be able to jump or stunt with them for football season, but come November, I’ll be back and ready to go for basketball season and tryouts!
    As far as choosing between a patellar or hamstring graft, I’m probably not the best person to give their input. But for me, my hamstring graft seems to be holding up well. I can walk, bike, do mini-squats and other exercises with minimal discomfort.
    Regardless of the graft choice, just remember to do your therapy and wear your brace! Those are two things I’m sure all of us can agree that will really get us back to doing what we love. 🙂
    Keep positive and don’t let yourself get discouraged with this injury! The first couple of weeks are the hardest and most painful, but remember: be patient – things can only go up from here!
    Best of luck to all with your ACL injuries/surgeries/rehab! 😀

  5. im 22 yrs old,had acl surgery may 28th.i dislocated my knee,sprain my mcl and had a bone bruse april 4 2010 playn 2nd post op in few days and my knee is very numb were he cut thigh muscles are fairly weak and iam still on cructhes. my doc doesnt want me to tear my new acl with any weird movements so im walkn with the don joy brace on but sleeping with it off feels a bit scary at times becuse it feels like my knee is still loose(jus in my mind).i realy dont have any pain after the 3rd day of surgery the only discoovert i have is sittn for a long time then standing up all the blood rushes dwn my leg.i start rehab next week so i guess i will have fun with that.

  6. hiii i m 17…i recently gone for acl surgery(patellar graft),,,i want to knw, how much time does i take to bend the knee till 140 degree(prone bending)…

  7. Unfortunately, I didn’t do any research prior to my ACL reconstructive surgery in Oct/2009. I tore my left ACL in Feb/2009 playing ultimate frisbee and met with a surgeon shortly afterwards. He recommended a patellar graft. I immediately felt comfortable with him so I never questioned his recommendation or considered the hamstring alternative. He assured me I’d be ‘as good as new’ following surgery and I never doubted him.

    Following surgery, I was walking without crutches within weeks and had full range of motion within the first month. After three months I was running and after four months I was playing ultimate frisbee again (albeit, at a very diminished pace). Of course, I re-habbed very aggressively so my results won’t apply to everyone. What I did experience that seems to be typical of the patella graft method is moderate anterior knee pain and reduced quadricep strength. Also, fluid tends to build-up in my knee following intense activity but, aside from giving the appearance of swelling, doesn’t cause any pain or pose any problems (my surgeon attributes the fluid to ruptured scar tissue and has offered to remove it arthroscopically at my discretion).

    All of the above issues will lessen overtime as my knee continues to heal and regain strength. The bottom lines is you need to find a surgeon that you trust and a method that suits your lifestyle and level of activity. I was an extremely active 28-year-old male when I tore my ACL and now, in June/2010, I’m an extremely active 29-year-old male only 8 months removed from surgery. My patella graft is extrememly strong and has allowed me to return to sports quickly and efficiently.

    1. hey ken thank you for posting your story im a 20 year old college football player at a school up in vermont and i just had my surgery 4 days ago and had the same kind of repair i have been very nervous on if i will ever be able to run and play the way i use to and also if i was going to tear it again after reading your story it has helped me relax a little bit by seeing someone in the same situation come back so fast

  8. My daugher is 15 years old. 2 weeks ago completely tore her left ACL and a tear in her meniscus playing basketball. All it took was a jump stop and down she went. We were first told it was a dislocated knee cap, boy were they wrong. She is scheduled for surgery July 2nd and we are also torn between the Patella vs. Hamstring. The information I am researching is telling us we should go with the hamstring. A co-worker of mine had the patella done about 2 years ago and always has pain when kneeling and feels a constant tightness in his knee and still has a slight limp. I have heard that you will regain 90-95% strength back with the hamstring and that no one really uses a 100% anyway, so that loss is not that significant. For recovery time, we were told that between 3-4 months she would be able to jog/run, at 6 months practice and at 8 months play in a game, 10-12 months for full recovery.

  9. Ouch, indeed. I wish I had a video of my ACL tear. It may not have looked like much to anyone else, but it was a weird combination of things, angle, slope of grass, poor fitting shoes, landing on one foot, then snap, tore the ACL. I caught a frisbee then just landed wrong. So random.

  10. I tore my ACL + meniscus in my right knee (right footed) playing soccer in 2003. I had surgery and used a donor tendon as a graft. I’d really recommend it, because it makes recovery a lot less painful (no harvesting from patella or hamstring). I used my crutches for less than a day and was able to put weight on that leg immediately after surgery. I tore the ACL and menisci again 7 years later and am now in my final stage of recovery. Not sure if I will go back to playing though. Again, a donor graft was used during surgery. Second tear pas partly caused (I think) because after a year of not doing anything I went back to playing competitive games in over 100 degree weather without training up the muscles around the knee first (tore it 2nd game). Stupid and my own fault. I guess I got complacent after not having had any trouble or pain in my knee during all those years. Anyway, I think donor graft is the way to go. Good luck all!

  11. Hello, I am 20 years old and currently about 6 months post ACL surgery. I got the allograft and I’m curious to know from anyone with more knowledge than I about the recovery process. I stepped on my skateboard a tad early and my doctor said I have loosened up my allographt. He said it isn’t tore but that it will always be stretched out. With proper exercise and rehab i should still be able to skate right? Does my knee still have a chance to heal? Although the graft may have loosened it doesn’t mean it won’t, heal right? Someone please let me know what you think, time keeps passing way too slow…

    1. I recently tore my acl and am facing surgery soon. I also had my injury skateboarding. Does it do any harm just skating around? no tranny or anything just cruising.

  12. I’m 15 and I tore my acl when I was 9. I still haven’t had surgery and I’m a cheerleader it feels like I finally can’t stand on it anymore. I don’t want to have surgery because it’ll cut a whole year out of cheer. I’m scared. Help

    1. Hi Hannah, I snapped my ACl three years ago and because I have a family and I run my own business I have put the surgery off for all that time. I figured I wouldn’t be able to run round after my children, get down and play with them on the floor and so on until after re hab. Also I wasn’t sure he I could get enough time away from my business to fully recover. Anyway, although my knee was ok and didn’t give me much trouble it was getting weaker and I can’t ski or run with it like that so I stopped putting the surgery off and with a deep breath and a lot of second thoughts I had it done five days ago. So far so good. Its quite painful at first but get your painkillers right and you’ll get through it. I have 6 weeks off work and made the kids understand they can’t lump about with me at the moment because of my ‘sore leg’. It feels loads better after just five days. The pain is going away and I.m resting up like the surgeon told me too. I start physical therapy tomorrow morning. The thing is this. . . Time passes quickly and I.m glad had it done now, because thinking that by next summer I.ll be fully recovered, rather than sat around wishing I.d already had surgery is going to be so much better than how I was last summer. And the summer before. Its deciding to do it that’s the hard bit. Once you’ve gone for it, the pressure of making the decision is over and you can get on with getting better and getting your old life back. So I.d say go for it and best of luck and before you know it you’ll be back to your old self.

    2. Hannah dont be scared the worst part is 3 to 4 days later. I had my acl torn since i was 17 and had surgery at 22. I rejected at 17 because i was scared and my knee was never d same ate 23 im fine and planning to join d LAPD.

  13. im 15 and i tore my left ACL playing soccer about 7 months ago. i got surgery done about 6 months ago. i had a cadaver instead of using my hamstring. but anyways ive been going to therapy and been healing really fast. im now 6 months after my surgery and just finished therapy. they said i was free to go play again using my brace. i went out on the feild and starting playing 1 v 1 with my brother and right when i went to shoot the ball my leg twisted, i heard a pop, then i fell. it feels exactly like it did when i tore my acl. its very sore and hard to walk on. i dont know what happened, but im so scared i tore it again. what makes it worst is that its on the same knee 🙁

  14. recently had surgery on the 7/6/12
    The best tendon for your knee would be the hamstring graft. this is much more sufficient for athletes and for those who want to get back into elite sports. there nothing too be afraid of, you will get everything back and stronger as long as you do a proper rehab. at 6 to 8 months you will be ready to go back into competitive sports but its always better too take the full 12 months. due to there is a new tendon and it is sufficient to build s much muscle as possible around the knee to protect your tendons and prevent yourself from doing this injury again. as long as you do a good rehab you will succeeded. if you want a future in a sport like i do you must make sure you don’t get lazy and always keep your self motivated to train. the first couple weeks you should at least do your exercise 4-5 times a day. it is very important to see a good physio for he will provide programs and alternative exercises to progress too recovery. good luck the goal is too never give up and train hard. trust me you. will succeed if you work for it.

    1. Disagree. What options to NFL football players choose? The option that their surgeons recommend – perhaps the best, highest paid surgeons in the world. They use the patellar-tendon graft option. Because of the bone-tendon-bone graft configuration, your bone grows right into your own bone for the strongest possible connection. This also is less complex than performing the hamstring graft option because of the potential of creating additional laxity in the new tendon because of the bundling procedure.

      1. I completely agree with you! I’m always so surprised that everyone writes off the patella tendon graft just because of a possibility of future knee pain and a longer recovery. I would go for a little knee pain any day over the possibility of a loose graft or decreased hamstring strength for the rest of my life. If you tore your ACL and are going through the pain and recovery of surgery you want the strongest graft that is not going to take strength away from your hamstring muscle.

      2. My son tore his ACL and his doctor is an NFL team doctor — he is using the hamstring and believes it to be the best. He said there is just not enough research for the NFL at this point but his co-workers (other NFL doctors) believe the hamstring is going to be the new choice.

        1. I am so worried about my son. As a Senior in high school having his Dream come true to play Football at the next level. , now with 5 weeks until he walks the stage he tore his ACL , surgery is set for the end of April. he will get a hamstring graft because he has a Osgood-Schlatters Disease .
          I only pray that he can heal to the level he once was. Reading all the success stories on line is helping me understand its just a set back.
          Thanks for sharing

  15. I’m currently 15 and completely tore my ACL and partially tore my MCL a little over a year ago playing soccer. About two days after I found out I tore it I underwent 6 weeks of physical therapy before my surgery to strengthen my knee so the recovery would be easier. I had an allograft used in my surgery And my MCL healed by the time I had surgery. I went to physical therapy for about six and a half months until i was released and cleared to play sports again. I had less than a month before my lacrosse tryouts and hyperextended it on the first day of tryouts. I was out until the second game and played the whole season although my brace restricted me immensely and my knee did not feel the same as before I tore it. I was a different player who was disappointed. I injured my knee a couple weeks ago playing soccer and am going to the doctor tomorrow. I really hope nothing is wrong, does anyone have any advice for me?

    1. yes – use your hamstring. My son’s doctor (NFL team doc) said that hamstring is the best. Find the best doctor you can and work hard, you will get there!

  16. Hey, my name is eddie. I tore my acl and meniscus about a month ago and just had my surgery less than 24hrs ago. I have been taking my medication every 4hrs and I am starting to feel a lot of pain. It feels like my leg is on fire, rather burning up on where I got the stitches. I am an athelete who plays soccer for the state, region, school and club so soccer is pretty much my life. I plan on recovering soon, meaning working hard at physical therapy. I want to be released after 7 months and start running/excercising, by 9-10 months i would like to start practicing with the team in my knee brace. Then finally playing in high competetive college games. Everyone is saying that after your acl surgery, you will NEVER play the same again. This makes me really sad but I will work hard to reach up to my peak level. I really don’t want to tear it again, but that means I also can’t play “scared” during games. What are some tips to recovering fast? Maybe eating healthy ? And how can I take precaution to NOT tear it again?.

    Thank you all,
    Hope you a speedy recovery!

    1. My daughter did not play any differently after her surgery. Coaches said her touch was as good as teammates that had been practicing for 9 months. The part about playing scared is the hard part. I actually video taped her playing do she could see that she was cutting and doing more than she thought she was able to do. That gave her confidence to play her normal game. Went on to playing D1 soccer and started n played nearly every minute of every game. It can be done. Good luck

  17. Hey, I am 15 years old I just recently tore my ACL at football practice and this is my first surgery. I am kinda worried about how painful this is, is it really painful the day after the surgery? And will I ever be able to play at my full health agin?I get hit a lot I’m a running back am I more likely to tear it agin since I get hit soo much? If y’all have any answers will y’all please help me !!

  18. I had torn my left ACL and meniscus a wk and a half after making a “big ten” college competitive cheer team and was extremely disappointed, especially right after having the excitement of making the team. I decided that I had to quit because of other situations that were going on at the time. It was definitely not something I wanted to do or have done. But I had to deal with it, learn, and look forward, knowing this had to have happened for a reason. I was required to be able to “walk down the street without anyone thinking something was wrong with me” before I could have surgery. So I was in a brace for a bit and got out of it. A month after the initial injury I graduated high school and 2 days after that I had surgery. My surgeon had given me the choice of the hamstring, patellar, or cadaver graphs. I chose the hamstring. I also had a stitch put into my meniscus. My surgery went well and really had no pain. I kept up on the pain killers, muscle relaxers, and lots of sleep for a few days then I didnt need them anymore. I am now 5.5 weeks post-op and things are going really well. Initially I was supposed to be have crutches for 6 wks but things changed and I was off at 4 weeks in the house and fully at 5. Still in a brace when I go out and when I sleep right now. The whole experience pain wise has been minimal. I have to mentally hold myself back more then physically because I know my knee’s not ready yet (I have a high pain tolerance). I walked around at the mall for 4 hours yesterday and was sore today but I expected that. Felt good though to be honest. But thats mostly it now. Sore and little pains here and there but icing when I need it takes care of that. My incisions are healing well and am glad theyre not too big. 1 1/2 inch in the front and a few quarter inch ones. So far I’m glad things are going well. I’m just hoping I can get back to doing cheer things (stunt, tumble, jumps, ect) and be able to tryout and make the team again next year. I dont want to compromise my future health or abilities though, but I want to make a dream of mine to cheer for the college happen(for the whole year). Hoping things work out.
    Has anyone had a similar experience/thoughts?

    1. Well i am actually about to go threw what you have went threw. I tore
      My acl and the out side of my meniscus and my surgery is tomorrow but im not in collage I’m only a freshman in high school, I am actually kinda scared of the surgery this will be My first surgery ever… I was very disappointed just as you was,when they told me I would be out of football my first high school season. May I ask you a few questions? After ther surgery the next couple of days how bad is the pain ? And, how hard is the therapy ?

      1. hi dylan, sorry I didn’t see this earlier. Now that you’ve already had your surgery I’m sure you figured out a few things about after the surgery. Honestly, I didn’t have much pain at all. I kept up on my pain meds and muscle relaxers and slept a ton for the first few days. Once i started staying awake longer and wasnt so groggy I started to ease back on the pain meds and muscle relaxers. Taking only half a pill of a pain med when i needed and some ibuprofen to get the swelling down (along with icing). This was also my first surgery. I think a good thing to know during recovery (no matter what point you’re at) is to keep a “positive mental attitude.” It may sound corny but its true. I learned it in high school and it helps a lot. Yes you’ll have times where you’re bummed out but you cant let it get to you too much. Do what you can do to get better. Work on your PT and dont be afraid to ask for help when you need. Also keep having a goal in mind. Whether it’s playing football again, biking, running or doing anything you love. Whatever it is, keep it in mind. You’ll get there. Feel free to ask questions, I’ll check the site.

  19. @dylan the first week is hard cause u have to start rehab right away getting ur range of motion back…..i tore my ACL in a powerlifting meet in march i was squating 700 lbs and the spoters shifted my weight and my knee just gave out..i get my release in sept 3 so i only did 5 months rehab

  20. I’m 14, tore my ACL (no other damage) two weeks ago in a freshman football game. Dr. says it needs to be replaced, am leaning towards Patella as he says that is best, lower failure/reinjury rates. Of course that means a 6-8 mo. re-hab meaning I’ll miss the basketball season (my best/favorite sport).

    My Dr. mentioned the possibilty of using a custom fitted ACL brace that would allow me to play basketball and postpone the surgery until after the season. He was not advising this, he recommended the surgery but said that this was an option. He wasn’t too concerned about doing addtional damage. But, another Ortho Dr., my brother was seeing him for a hand injury, said “Absolutely Not!”

    My question is has anyone had any experience of using a brace as a stop-gap measure and then doing the surgery at a later date/time?

    1. I’m with your doctor on this one. I tore the ACL and menisci in my right knee a year ago, just a couple weeks into my senior year of high school. I talked it over with my family and decided to use the brace as a stop-gap so I could play basketball and baseball for my school. My knee gave out every 3 weeks for about 6 months, then we finally called it quits and scheduled surgery. Due to some insurance issues, I had to wait another two months before I finally “got” to have the surgery performed. Now, 4 months removed from having a patellar graft ACL rebuild, I wish I had gotten the surgery earlier! I’m not even half-way healed and my knee is light-years ahead of where it was during those 6 months. The pain is only present when I’m doing my excercises, but it’s not bad at all. (I do have a really high pain tolerance, however…) I say take the safe route and get the surgery over with… This will, as long as you rehab diligently, put you at your best for your junior and senior years.

  21. I dont have that experience but i recommend having the surgery. Now being 4 months post surgery Im happy i did it when i did. I suggest doing having the surgery asap. Then you get it all over with instead of postponing it and potentially hurting your knee more. There is a potenial risk of hurting it, whether actually injuring it or making you sit out. Your knee could give out and doing all the BB stuff (running pivoting etc) could make that happen. It’s not pleasant having it give out or shift, and even worse when you have to sit out b/c of it. I also heard that the patella has more of a chance getting arthritis sooner then the hamstring. If you do your PT right and be smart about what you do then the outcomes of both the ham and patella will be strong.

    Also note: The sooner you have surgery, the sooner you’ll be able to play sports again. It’ll also give you more time to get ready (and heal) for next yrs season.

  22. So I have read the majority of these comments and it seems like everyone who recovered from an injury in 6 months just ended up tearing their acl again. Has anyone been successful recovering back to sports in 6 months without re-injuring? I play on club/varsity soccer and just a couple weeks ago a girl came from the side and took out my leg tearing my ACL and MCL. I have never had a sever injury in my 11 years of soccer, or let alone get surgery. I’m hoping to get surgery next month when my MCL heals and 6 months from then is high school soccer. Do I have a good chance of being able to play? Any suggestions???

  23. hey alex,

    I am about 2 1/2 months post op from my surgery. honestly, i think you’ll be fine for 6 months, possibly even earlier. As an athlete, you will most likely find that it is easier to recovery then someone who is not as active. At 2 1/2 months, i feel great, i am running, pivoting a little. Also, at 4 months, some doctors have you take a test that marks how far you have come in the healing process. All they are really looking for is for your muscle to return to its old self. I have a feeling that you’ll be just fine in time for soccer season. Check out my blog to see what it is like!

  24. I’m 29 and tore my acl a little over a month ago landing a toe touch in cheer practice but the other girls thought it was just hyperextended so I went home iced it and saw the college health center the next day they seemed to think it was a hyperextension as well and said to just stretch it and use an stationary bike. This was during our sorority recruitment week and I thought my knee popped one night during mock rush and it seemed to feel better after that. Then almost a month later I was doing high kicks at practice as part of a dance and it felt like my knee came out of place so I had to sit down for a minute. I went back to the health center and was told my kneecap attempted to dislocate but got caught and went back into place and just to ice it and keep doing what I was doing. So last week I went to an orthopedic doctor who took x-rays and the second he picked up my leg he told me I had a torn ACL and that I would have to have surgery. I have never broken anything never had surgery and have a mild fear of doctors so the thought of this is terrifying. I’m in my senior year of college (I started late cause I wanted to travel first) and I’m worried this will ruin my whole year and prevent me from graduating with honors.
    Does anyone have any tips or suggestions to maybe help me feel better about getting the surgery? also I am having trouble picking between grafts…I really want something that will heal fast but that will be strong too and I am worried about the pain was it really awful?

    1. Dear AM,

      Not to worry about the Injury, it is very common just not in sports but also in daily life. It can happen to anyone at anytime , for Eg: some one while taking stairs if they twist their knee too much it can happen like wise there are many unfortunate ways but not to worry , technology In orthopedics has grown very well.

      I am 25 and a pro Badminton player. I torn my Left ACL three months ago and had the surgery done with my own Hamstring tendon. the recovery is very good i already started walking normally and the Dr. had suggested to train for 6-9months to get back to normal stage i.e to play :).

      What I recommend is to go for Hamstring tendon as I have done millions of en quires with the people who had done it and also with Most renowned Doctors suggest the same 🙂 This Heals fast and gets stronger too.

      Now about the Pain, Yes Pain is certain but it will be for maximum of a week or ten days after the Surgery very minimal level. At the time of surgery you would not feel a thing as anesthesia given you can actually read or listen to music:). However you cannot avoid the pain on the day of surgery after the Anesthesia comes down. it will be crying time for some hours, sorry the truth!

      ‘Caution’- You need to take certain things very careful
      1.Be confident Lol Nothing would go wrong.
      2.Pick an expert Doctor as some times ACL Gets failure and they go for Re surgery which is not advisable.
      3. Rest very well after the Surgery and do physiotherapies to recover faster.
      4.Many Dr would not suggest Brace after the Surgery but most experienced Dr,s Suggests to wear immediately after the ACL Torn and also after the surgery for At least two weeks to get a good stability and to avoid any risks.

      Its a lengthy answer, but these are things I am following and to my surprise it is really getting very well, I wish all the best to your surgery! At last once again be very confident do not doubt on your knee it will become very strong:)

    2. Dear AM,

      Im a cheerleader also and I chose the hamstring graft. Im 5 months post op and am doing pretty well, especially considering I stopped doing PT at home after the appointments stopped. I got lazy to say the least. I had never had surgery either before this and was nervous. Pain wise, mine was and always has been minimal (on a sale 1-10, 10 being the worst, I stayed between 1 and 3). The knee and graft is actually weakest at the 6 week mark and then improves again from there. So be careful around that time. My first and biggest advice is go to an experienced doctor that works at a place that’s known for doing good work. Research them and chose wisely.

      My advice regarding the surgery is to trust it. I decided to find humor in my experience in the recovery room, I laugh every time I think of it. It’s fine to be nervous, but don’t get too much.

      My surgeon told me that if you have hyper extended muscles/joints or are overly flexible than you would want to use the patella tendon (a flexible hamstring will do very little to help support your knee). If you have bad joist than you should do the hamstring. My doc gave me the option since I didn’t have either. Personally I chose the hamstring since it tends to heal slightly faster and so I wouldn’t be kneeling on a large scar for the rest of my life. Also, studies are starting to show that arthritis is less common within 15 yrs post surgery with the hamstring graft. It’s not for sure proven, but something that I took in account even so.

      Hope this helps,

    3. Studies have shown that the knee brace does not prevent injury reoccurence and is nothing more than a mental crutch. Proper surgery will not require a knee brace at all. Also, stay away from the cadaver tendon replacement if you plan on going back into competitive sports. It has a higher failure rate and the tendon is weaker due to degeneration. The cadaver technique is an easier procedure for the surgeon. The hamstring is fast becoming the gold standard and is used in 90% of the procedures in the Scandinavian countries. Many soccer injuries there. The key is proper rehab and strengthening. Also, reinventing the player’s technique to avoid the physical movement that caused the initial injury.

  25. I highly suggest athletes looking to play relatively
    Quickly should get a cadaver and not have it taken
    From another muscle, I had the cadaver
    Yesterday an it has been a much better
    Experience that people I know who had it removed
    From other parts of the body. It will only mean
    Nursing one wound instead of two . Good luck to everyone who has to get it .

  26. I’m 17 years old and tore my acl and part of my medial meniscus on the 10th, I had surgery on the 25th and at 6 days later I could walk my leg with minimal pain for short distances, it’s day 7 after surgery and I’ve been using one crutch during school and putting 90% of my weight of my leg, has anyone else experienced this ? My therapist says I’m ahead of recovery schedule and I’m trying to be off crutches with a knee hinge brace after 11 days

    1. I’d be careful with how much you push yourself. It’s good to recover quick, but if it’s too quick then you risk it being weaker in the long run. 6-12 wks post op is the weakest time for your graft. As odd as it sounds its true. So around that time Id be especially careful, you dont want to re-tear.

  27. HI,guys: I looked all your great rehab experience and i am happy for all of you who can go back to normal life. But i am an exception, i feel really frustrated. Here is my situation, I torn my acl on May 1st, and did the surgery on july 9th, after that i had a bad time of rehab. Two weeks ago, i was back to surgery of manipulation and scope because i can not bend more than 90 degree. Right now, my rehab gets stalled again, is there anybody has the same experience as i do?

  28. Thanks Vivek,
    I went back and had an MRI and they told me it was a complete ACL tear and had damaged the medial meniscus as well. I’m having surgery on the 23rd with a patella tendon graft because my doctor said it was the “gold standard” and had just done the same thing on one of my college’s football players last week and he’s already off crutches. I’m still terrified but I’m hoping I can be walking without crutches in a week cause I want to go to an away game that we aren’t marching at a week and a half later.

  29. Reading this site really helped me through my ordeal, I thought I’d share my story.

    18 y/o male athlete

    This year, my senior year of high school I had two knee injuries on seperate knees. During the first soccer game of the season another player kicked my right knee and dislocated it. The knee cap moved to the outside of my right leg. Luckily after a few short moments the knee cap moved back into place. The father of one of my teammates is an orthopedic surgeon so he was able to check me out on the field following the injury. After a few x rays and an MRI to make sure nothing else was damaged, I was cleared to play again. Two games later while going for the ball I planted really hard and simultaneously collided with another player. I heard a loud pop in my left knee an fell to the ground. I was able to get up and walk off the field this time. My teammates father was there again (thankfully) and after examining my leg he concluded that I tore my left ACL. (opposite leg)To my dismay I was out for the season of my senior year. After a few doctor appointments, x rays , and an MRI it was found that my ACL had completely torn, but was not related to the dislocation of my other knee a few weeks before.

    After discussion with my parents we decided to have surgery. I wanted the surgery as soon as possible but we waited until the swelling went down in my knee. The time of injury to the day of surgery was just under 2 months. I received surgery on November 21 using my patellar tendon. The surgery went well. There was some post op pain bu nothing that was intolerable. For the first few days I kept icing and kept the leg elevated. I wanted to contribute to this site so others could read, just like I was able to read other people’s stories. I’m planning to repost here after a few months letting people know how the recovery has been going.


  30. I’m so glad I found this site. I tore my ACL several months ago. I had continued to work and even play, because I didn’t know I’d done it. Anyway, I am one day out from surgery( I had the patella graft). My surgeon was great and I’m experiencing a bit of pain. I’m taking the medications they gave me and I’m looking to get back on the road to recovery ASAP. Reading these stories lets me know I’m not the only one.

  31. I tore my right acl during a rec soccer game.
    i’m 45 years old and have played organized sports my entire life.
    Anyways, i really didn’t know what to expect with the surgery. Being involved in sports my entire lifetime I knew that tearing my acl was a serious injury and would take a long time to recover.
    I am currently 4 weeks and 1 day removed from surgery. My hamstring graft was used. My doc said that his patients that used a hamstring graft seemed to do so much better than those that used the patellar tendon graft. He said the end results are the same but those that used the patellar tendon seemed to have more pain during the recovery process.
    Doc said to expect a minimum of 6 months before participating in sports again.
    i still have pain in and around my knee. Most of my pain is where the incisions are which is where the screws are located. Still have swelling and my pt says to expect swelling to remain for 6-8 months.
    My brace was removed on the third day after surgery. Doc said it was time to get moving.
    Currently I can go up and down the stairs. I still have a slight limp when walking. Driving is no problem. My home exercises and pt excercises revolve around trying to strengthen my quad, stretch my hamstring and bending my knee as far as i can.

  32. My daughter (13) tore her ACL playing soccer in December.
    We waited until April to have surgery. The bones need to be nearly (if not) fully grown.
    She had a hamstring graft.
    Zero pain after surgery…..just a little uncomfortable with a tight brace.
    Walking without crutches (but with a brace) after two weeks on the CMP machine.

    so far so good….

  33. hi im 25 i snapped a ligament in my knee and decided to have surgery. the doc done a acl and used my hamstring. i got crutches and minimal post op pain. 6 days post op i was walking wiyh my crutches and i may have stretched my leg to far back and i had a sharp pain in the back of my leg. the next morning i had a psin under my foit and ny ankle was swolen. minor bruising from the op but i am concerned i damaged the docs work. has anything like that happened to any of you? my knee can ben normally again so i am worried i broke something else or broke what the doc fixed.

  34. Heyy, I’m only 15 and I play soccer at a professional club. 5 months ago I got tackled in a match, I limped off and had an mri a week later, the doc said I’ve torn my mri so I though that’s okay and I’ll get back to football, during rehab, I injured that same leg, another mri was needed and now I have torn my acl, mcl and meniscus, my team have suggested surgery but I’m in a vital year in my career and I don’t want to miss the whole year so I’m abit confused and worried

    1. Hi Abel
      You have no choice but to have surgery and rehab for at least 6 months if you want to play again. Continue to play now, if you can, and risk permanent serious injury that cannot be repaired. Get the hamstring procedure and stay true to your rehab. If you speed up the process then you are only fooling yourself. The surgery is a couple of hours procedure but th rehab is minimal 6 months. That is the hardest part, very mental but worth he effort.

  35. Hey guys, was fascinating reading all these stories..

    Anyway, on August 2013 I was playing the first game of my season for my soccer team , I’m from the uk btw.. I got a challenge and somebody kicked my leg, I heard a pop and went down and was in agony.. 5 minutes lying down the pain subsided, and I tried to play on, I only managed a minute or two before I realised I couldn’t play..

    So the next day I went to the hospital and it had swollen up a lot by then so tey couldn’t really tell what it is.. I then went to a physio. Who from his physical examination thought my knee cap had moved out and bak into place.. I done rehab with him for 5 weeks and still no improvemen, come October I managed to get an appointment with a orthopedic doctor in 12 weeks ( January), up until that time I still was doing PT to keep my muscles from deteriorating.. By November I could run almost full speed, turn, twist an pivot, so In December I started playing for my team again, I played 7 games with no injury but just a little pain the next day…

    I seen my ortho dr, he got me an MRI, the results came in that I completely tore my ACL and needed surgery, for weeks I just left playing but couldn’t handle it so started playing again, then I played once at the end of feburary and I jumped for the ball and landed awkwardly and heard a pop, the pain was intense and excruciating and was all more painful than my original acl Injury back in August as I couldn’t even up weight on my leg and had to be carried off..

    I then seen the ortho dr again and he told me I had torn my meniscus , the same leg as my ACL injury, he called me back in a week and I had my meniscus repaired ( 02/03/14) 2nd of March 2014.. It’s now been a week and I’m still feeling the pain, I hVe been lying in bed all week keepin my leg elavated and moving around as little as possible…

    I now have my ACL recon in April 15th 2014.. I have been reading up about which grafts to use etc.. I want to be back as fast as possible to be playin again but realistically I want to be sure, so I was wondering if I could get some replies on this on which would be the best graft for me to use, if I have to be out a full 12 months so be it, I’ll wait and do my PT so I’m sure and 100% ready, I’m 17 year old male..

    Please get back to me so I know what is best and can make a decision, and hope all the people who need surgery have it soon and come back better and stroner, keep positive. Peace out and take care all…

    Zen, 17, Glasgow, Scotland, UK

      1. @CSpears Not sure if you meant that message for me? If so sorry for the long wait for a reply, I never thought my comment even posted, but it’s been almost a year since my meniscus repair and 8/9 months since my acl op, my surgeon used a hamstring graft, I’m not going to lie it’s been all this time and not once did I do my pt properly, I kinda gave up and was scared to get back to it, I’m now sitting here regretting that I’ve done nothing because my leg doesn’t feel the same at all, I still get pains in my knee and my hamstring, my leg is probably at about 40% of that of the un-operated leg, so you can see how far behind I am after so long, I basically hav no muscle in my quads or hamstring and leg is really weak, I still find it sore to jog, I still can’t run at full speed, I can’t twist, turn or pivot at a fast speed..
        I’m still not even able to kick a soccer ball properly..
        So for everyone who can see this, if you want to do well after you’re operation, I can’t stress enough how important you’re physio is and how you have to do it properly.

  36. Hi, my daughter tore her ACL two weeks before her 14th birthday. She is a high level soccer player and plans to return playing. We took her to a pediatric orthopedic surgeon and he wants to do a hamstring graft. We took her in for a second opinion to another pediatric orthopedic sports medicine doctor. He said he could perform either a BTB or hamstring. He said her growth plates in her knees are near closed and her tanner stage is a 4. He did say she would be fine with either procedure. The first doctor said he absolutely would not do a BTB for risk of her growth plates. I am so confused and want to help her make the best decision. I read that a BTB is better for female soccer players since it is a tighter fit. I worry about the slight higher tear rate in the hamstring and her not able to possibly have full flexion in her knee and less hamstring strength. I don’t want to damage her growth plates either. I am so confused. I would appreciate the opinions of those that have had a similar experience. Thank you.

  37. Hey guys, I got a partial tear of my ACL, but have little to no stability when land after a jump. Its been about 3-4 years since I got my ACL injury from basketball and since it wasn’t too bothersome I kept playing basketball and sports casually. Once in a while when I play too hard I’d hear a pop and fall in pain (happened about 2-3 times over the course of this injury), swell for about 4-5 days, and then have a full range of motion again with no pain. I’m pretty sure I’ve progressively worsen the injury and was wondering if there would be scar tissues that needed to be scraped out prior or during surgery? I intend on doing it soon, let me hear your opinion. Thanks

  38. Hi guys,

    I’ve had a long journey with ACL issues. I am currently a varsity basketball player, but last year as a junior my knee went out in November and the doctors diagnosed me with a knee sprain and sent me to therapy. Then in May I was cleared to play again and my knee went out once again. Then finally I was given another MRI and thy determined it was my ACL all along. I was given surgery on July 11th and I’m currently in my 6th month. For surgery I used my hamstring and it seems to be holding up pretty fine. Right now, I’m capable of running, jumping, squatting and bending my leg completely. The first couple weeks after surgery are undoubtedly the hardest. I cried everyday because I felt like I was stuck and incapable of doing anything and just watching my team play without me sucked more than ever. The biggest key to a successful rehab is the brace, therapy, determination, rest, and ice– I ice my knee very often especially after activities. Mentally, my injury has taken a big toll on me and still is because it’s always the worry of getting reinjured. Good luck with everything though.
    Email me if needed:

  39. I torn my ACL playing competitive tennis when I was 16. My surgery with patella graft and recovery was pretty good and I am playing competitively again. 18 months after surgery, I started seeing bruises right underneath my scar. Did anybody else experienced the same?

  40. Hi, it’s wonderful majority getting better in such a small bit of time. Happy for you! Let me tell you my daughter’s story. She dreamed all her life of playing hs sports. Sophomore year tore her ACL in BBall game. She had patellar tendon graft. All seemed well at first. Normal post-op but then the pain never ceased. Kept going to Dr. but said it was tendonitis. Sent her back to P/T couple times-didn’t help. After 1 1/2 years, finally convinced doc to do 2nd MRI. Synovial tissue had grown into graft-cyclops. Had 2nd surgery to correct that. Pain still never went away, in fact-got worse. She now is 2+ years post-op and has dramatically changed as a person. She went from an athletic, energetic, happy person to one that has lost hope. Regular doc wanted to treat her for depression. She’s all but lost hope in ever being pain free again. Pain never ceases, cries almost daily. C-Reactive Protein is 3x what should be. She’s been robbed of her HS sport dreams, can’t run, workout, kneel, hike, bike or even shop. She hasn’t been school shopping since injury 2 yrs. ago and counting because she can’t walk that long. Her friends don’t believe her, a teacher accused her of milking her injury. Sometimes she has to go back to crutches. Shooting pain going all way up into her neck, turning her foot cold, with a stabbing, burning pain in her knee. Still having tests-latest was triple phase bone scan to check for infection, cancer, arthritis, CRPS. Thank God results were good. Seeing our 5th doctor and Neuro soon. Sounding more like nerve damage or impingement during surgery. Her spirit has been broken, my heart aches because I can’t take away the pain. She does’nt know but I cry all the time for her too. All you going hard after your repairs-beware. New results show after 6 months post-op there is less blood supply to area than they thought, causing repairs to be incomplete and re-injure. Wait at least 9 months. If anyone has any ideas or has had this happen, please share your results. Good luck to all.

  41. If you tear your ACL at a school sponsored function or while in a travel league ask if they have insurance to cover after primary and secondary insurance companies pay. My 2 daughters have had 8 knee surgeries and I have not paid one cent out of pocket for the high school and club insurance paid everything that was not covered. It was a life saver for me.

  42. Hi all,
    I am 16 and was very excited about playing soccer with my high school this year as a Junior. I also play with a high level club team all year round and am planning to play at the collegiate level. About two weeks ago I was doing a fitness drill that involved jumping. I landed funny and felt an excruciating pain in my right knee, it was so stupid. It subsided after a few minutes and i went back to fitness training with it throbbing a little. It was sore and swollen the next day and i found it hard to bend. When i went to the doctors they said it was most likely just a strain so i continued to play. I was okay but not 100% in my HS tryout when i was fouled from behind and i felt the pain again. My coach suggested that i see our school trainer, who thought it could be an ACL tear. After an MRI i just found out she was right and am pretty bummed to miss soccer season and ski season as well. Surgery is in 3 weeks and wondering how that will go/recovery time…I really want to get back in time for spring soccer. Anyone have a similar experience? Thanks for the help!

  43. Hello, I’m 3 yrs old and just tore my ACL. Amazing these days its happening to people younger and younger. I was just getting good at walking too.

  44. Hi. I am 25 years old and will go for doing acl surgery of my left knee. I am little bit worry about my surgery. Bcoz i think after surgery may i look/ feel like normal as athletic do the work?

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