Im just getting back from ACL reconstruction. I am wondering if cross-country would put me in risk for re-tearing it or if it would help build my muscles back up around my knee?
Answer by Dominique:
Thank you for your question regarding your recent ACL reconstruction. The ACL (=anterior cruciate ligament) is a major ligament around the knee joint. It is important in stabilizing your knee.
The important benefit of an ACL reconstruction is that if it is successful it gives you back a normal knee and you should be able to eventually do everything you did before.
My understanding of an ACL reconstruction is that in the period after the surgery you should do plenty of stretching and strengthening exercises to make your ankles, lower and upper legs stronger.
Without knowing your physical fitness, how far you are in the healing process and without being your physician I can't exactly tell whether you should already do cross-country. If you and your physician decide you are able to run again, just make sure you build up very gradually and allow your legs to become stronger over time. Then cross-country is a great way to build up your muscles again. Just be careful. It's no use recovering from one injury and then being hit by others or not allowing your knee to fully recover from what is pretty significant surgery.
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So take it easy, do lots of stretching and strengthening exercises and listen to your body!
Hope this helps.