P3 Athletic Sports Physical Therapy

5 Reasons You Should Be Concerned About ACL Injuries and Surgery

ACL injuries often result in surgery which creates a trickle down effect of more pain and continued treatments

Over the past several years, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries have reached “epidemic levels”, particularly among young athletes and women. Following this trend, here at P3 we’ve been seeing a growing trend in ACL injuries and concurrent reconstructive surgeries. In this blog post (the first of our ACL series), you’ll learn about the high cost (not just financial) of injuring your ACL, including the consequences of ACL reconstructive surgery.


For those not familiar with this type of injury, we’ll highlight a few key points. The ACL is a ligament of the knee that connects the thigh bone to the shin bone. When that ligament breaks, the two bones can move more freely creating instability and pain.

So what?

The vast majority of people who experience ACL injuries – especially the active population – are advised to proceed with arthroscopic surgery to reconstruct the ligament.

You might be thinking, “Great! So they can fix it, right?” The short answer is “yes”, but many people don’t realize the consequences of having a surgery like this, nor do they understand the alternatives


1. High Cost

Studies have shown that the billed cost of an ACL surgery ranges from $20,000-$50,000 with the average out-of-pocket costs at $9,000. Don’t forget the time needed to take off work because of immobility (first 2-6 weeks), doctors appointments, physical therapy, gym/rehab plan. Most recoveries from ACL surgery take at least 1 year. What’s more valuable than your time?

2. Loss of independence

Without a doubt you’ll be laid up for the first 2-6 weeks needing all friends and family on deck to help you navigate your home, do chores, go shopping, drive you around, etc. It may not sound like a bad thing being waited on hand and foot, but most people following an ACL reconstruction can’t stand not doing what they want with their body and taking care of themselves or their loved ones.

3. Pain

If a surgeon is going to probe into your knee and drill a new ligament into your bone, you can expect some pain and inflammation afterward. That’s just the healing of the procedure. Don’t forget, you still need to restore the motion and function of the knee with physical therapy. Imagine trying to straighten and bend your knee after the trauma from metal tools cutting, drilling, and screwing into your knee. Not the most comfortable experience to say the least.

4. Long-term loss of function

Let’s face it, there’s no guarantees when it comes to surgeries. Although a new ACL has been reconstructed, there are many factors that contribute to a SUCCESSFUL recovery. The big ones we see people struggle with are mobility, strength, and functional stability. Can your knee bend and straighten like the good leg? Can you squat and single-leg press the same weight on each leg? Do you land, cut, and jump confidently with good form and mechanics? Without getting these areas back to over 90% of your good leg, you may have difficulty returning to activity, sports, and putting yourself at risk for another injury. For the active population especially, this can be very frustrating.

5. Beginning the cascade of medical procedures

The data is clear that ACL injuries increase the risk of developing early osteoarthritis (OA) in the knee. Typical medical treatments as OA progresses are medication, injections, arthroscopic surgeries, and lastly, the knee joint replacement. Many of these procedures restart the problems listed in reasons 1 through 4.


As you can see, there is good reason for concern regarding ACL injuries, which is why we’re dedicating a whole month to this topic. Please stay tuned the next couple weeks as we cover the following:

  • Why ACL injuries aren’t often freak accidents and how to know when you’re at risk for one
  • 5 must do exercises for ACL injury prevention and recovery
  • What to look for in a PT for ACL and knee injury rehabilitation

Also, to cap off March’s health focus, please join us for an in-clinic seminar on Wednesday, April 5th at 5:45pm to cover all things ACL. Ask our staff questions, and sign up to win a FREE ACL prevention screen with custom exercise program. SIGN-UP HERE.

Need help from our team now? Book a call with our care coordinator.