You can definitely return to a high level of sport activity with an ACL injury. Some partial tears can still give a stable knee depending on your inherent joint stiffness. The issue is whether you have instability, episodes of giving way, with your chosen activities. These symptoms can cause tearing of the meniscus which you want to avoid. You also don’t want to have an ‘episode’ in the backcountry where you pivot, and lock your meniscus leading to an evacuation situation.
As always, listen to how YOU are responding to the injury.
Hiking/mountaineering recovery for partial ACL tear
I posted here about a week ago (thanks for the response!) about a suspected meniscus tear; both the PA I saw and I were surprised to find out today that it is actually a partial ACL tear.
The PA recommended I do PT for at least 4 weeks and then re-assess. I will see the MD and start PT tomorrow (re-start, just finished PT for achilles tendonitis about a month ago..).
Do you have any experience with hikers/mountaineers returning to sport w/this injury *without* surgery? Everything I’ve read says that most athletes are not successful w/o surgery, although I am guessing most of these are people who are doing things at a quicker pace where it is easier to twist things the wrong way (downhill skiing, bball, soccer). Although steep/rocky/slippery/icy trails and carrying extra pack weight are a different set of challenges..
I often feel like when I tell providers I hike, they think it means I am going on a stroll in the park on an even surfaced dirt road (one trainer I had suggested I wear a fanny pack after I hurt my back… I told him I didnt think my snowshoes and crampons would fit), not 10+ miles and several thousand plus feet of elevation gain on steep, rocky, slippery trails in 4 seasons w/5-30 lbs of gear on my back (30 for backpacking).
Any tips or thoughts are always appreciated! Also if you know of any PT/coaches in the New England area that specialize in uphill/mountain sports, I would also be interested (I live in Mass. and do most of my hiking in NH).
thanks in advance!
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