Return to running after knee injury or surgery

running after injury

When can I run again after I’ve injured my knee ?

This is a common question that we get asked from clients, whether they are fitness enthusiasts, keen runners or wanting to get back to sport. Most of the advice in this article is based around considerations after surgery but the the principles apply to those who have had ligament injuries that haven’t required surgery.

These principles are also a useful guide to ankle injuries as well.

Return to running after  ACL knee  surgery ?

Interestingly there is not a lot of research to determine when you can return to running post ACL surgery.

stay active | Arana Hills PhysiotherapyHistorically its been a time dependant criteria after surgery has been done to ensure that the new graft is strong enough to tolerate running and that you have done the work in the gym.

Usually we would look at a three month post surgery date at when we should consider this. These days this is less strict and return to running can be possible a bit earlier, but before 2 months may be pushing the friendship !

Return to running guidelines for knees

However it’s important that you have reached certain physical competencies before you start pounding the track, streets or trails. The criteria we want is to have a  happy knee , to achieve this we need the following:

we want a happy knee before getting back to running
  • Full range of movement in a pain free knee
  • No swelling at the knee.
  • No earlier than 2 months post operatively if you’ve had surgery.
  • Achieve the following guidelines as presented by  Mick Hughes regarding return to running after ACL reconstruction.

  • 10 single leg dips of 20 cm box.
  • 10 single leg squats from a bench.
  • 20 single leg hamstring bridges off a bench.
  • 30 second bridge.
  • 20 calf raises on operated side.
  • Single leg balance 45 seconds.
  • 3 x spilt squat at 30-50% bodyweight.

If you can achieve these and be within 85% of the non operated side then you should be good to go .

If you want a simple home exercise running specific exercise circuit to help you get back on track and prevent running related injuries check out this post we wrote earlier.

There you have it a simple guide to when you can consider getting back to running. As always its a good idea to be guided by a physiotherapist to make sure you are ready and not going too hard too soon.

If you want to get back to running after an injury and not sure how you can book in to see one of us here



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If you want more insight here’s a blog from a good friend of our clinic, physiotherapist , strength and conditioning specialist Steve Collins  :Return to running post injury part one Steve collins