Some potentially distressing news for runners undergoing knee surgery on their anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). A preliminary study out of the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital found that athletes who undergo anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction surgery are six times more likely to suffer another ACL injury within two years compared to those who didn’t have any surgery.
“Even though additional research still needs to be performed to support our findings, our data does provide early evidence for re-examining current rehabilitation and return-to-sport protocols following [ACL reconstruction],” the study’s lead author Mark Paterno said.
The research involved 78 subjects who underwent ACL surgery and returned to sports, as well as a control group of 47 people with no previous ACL injuries. After two years, 23 of those who had ACL surgery and just four of those in the control group had suffered an ACL injury that required surgery. Among those who already had the ACL surgery, there was a higher incidence of the opposite knee suffering the ACL injury in the next round. Nearly a third of those who had the surgery required more surgery within two years.