ACL Tears in Athletes Over 40

“Accelerated rehabilitation programs may be more desirable in older athletes to facilitate return to work and family life; however, rehabilitation after ACL reconstruction may be prolonged, and the healing response may be less robust in older patients because of reduced ability to regain muscle strength and increased time needed to regain coordination.”

Patients over 40 years old are remaining active and participating in high-level sports, which has led to an upsurge in ACL tears among this cohort.

Many athletes in this age group may benefit from ACL reconstruction, as ACL reconstruction can improve function and enable return to sport in the older athlete, whereas activity modification and nonoperative treatment is reserved for lower-functioning patients or non-athletes.

This recent Sports Health journal article, Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries in the Older Athlete provides a great overview of the timing of ACL surgery, graft choice, and the postoperative rehabilitation progression.

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