2015 ISAKOS Biennial Congress ePoster #1356

Timeline of Return to Activities of Daily Living Following Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction

Bradley James Nelson, MD, Minneapolis, MN UNITED STATES
Marc Tompkins, MD, Minneapolis, MN UNITED STATES
Robby Sikka, MD, Bloomington, MN UNITED STATES
Megan Reams, BA, Minneapolis, MN UNITED STATES
Michael Obermeier, BA, Minneapolis, MN UNITED STATES

TRIA Orthopaedic Center, Bloomington, MN, USA

FDA Status Not Applicable

Summary: This study describes the timeline to return to activities of daily living such as work, school, driving, crutch use, and pain medication use in patients who underwent anterior cruciate reconstruction.




Return to sport following Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) reconstruction has been often been reported in the literature. No current studies, however, have reported a timeline for return to activities of daily living (ADLs). Counseling patients on likely return to daily activities is an important part of setting expectations prior to ACL reconstruction (ACLR).

Materials And Methods

Two hundred sixteen patients who underwent primary ACLR between January 2012 and March 2014 at a single institution were included. Patients were contacted by phone on days 7 (±3), 14 (±3), 25 (±4), 49 (±7), and 90 (±10) to collect data regarding crutch use, narcotic pain medication use, driving, and return to work/school.


There were one hundred one patients who underwent isolated primary ACL reconstruction. Sixty-five patients underwent concomitant meniscectomy, fourteen underwent chondroplasty. Thirty-six patients underwent concomitant meniscal repair and were analyzed as a separate cohort. For patients with isolated ACL reconstruction, or concomitant meniscectomy and chondroplasty, the mean age of patients at the time of surgery was 28±13 years with 52% being female and 48% male. Narcotic pain medications were used for an average of 11±8.9 days. Patients reported using crutches for 17±11 days. The average number of missed work days was 13±12. For students, the average number of missed school days was 8±5. Patients of driving age reported driving at 13±8 days following their surgery. Patients undergoing right ACLR reported driving at 16±10 days post-operatively; whereas, patients undergoing left ACLR reported an average of 10±5 days. BMI, and age did not increase the length of time patients were on pain medication or the time to return to work/school; however, graft type, a history of smoking, and patients who require anti-depressants may affect time to return to work and return to some daily activities.


The results of this study demonstrate the short-term impact on patients’ daily lives following ACLR. These results may aid surgeons in counseling patients who choose to undergo ACLR and help patients make an informed decision on timing when scheduling their surgery. Specifically, the results may help patients fully understand the amount of time needed off from work/school and how long they will need to arrange transportation following surgery.