How soon can I go running after ACL surgery?

This is a question we get asked a lot at Cambridge Sports Medicine Centre. And there is no straightforward answer – it all depends on how your recovery is going and whether you have reached some of the milestones that will allow you to safely run again.

ACL surgery is traumatic, and for someone (like you) for whom performance sport of one kind or another is central to your life, returning to running after the surgery is a mental milestone as well as a physical one.

Time is a major factor – the first 12 weeks are the main healing time when the new graft is still weak and excessive loading can impair the healing process.


The last thing you want to do when you’ve just had ACL surgery is to put yourself back to square one, so this is NEVER a decision you should make on your own or in isolation.

However, your CSMC physiotherapist will also be able to advise on whether other performance factors they use as measures of your recovery indicate when you could be back running, all as part of a planned rehabilitation.

As a guide, we would expect a performance-oriented sportsperson to be able to return to low speed, straight line running around 16 – 20 weeks, but it can be longer and is, of course, subject to individual assessment. Please don’t try without consulting with a qualified physiotherapist!

So instead of using the 4-month mark or the 6-month mark for return to running, talk to us first! Even if you haven’t been having physio at our specialist centre based at Cambridge Rugby’s Ellgia Fields, we can assess your readiness and recommend how soon you can be back running after ACL surgery!

Call us on 07801 359916 or email to discuss your needs and plan your return to performance sport!