Post-Op ACLR – After 12 months

How it feels being 18 months post-op ACLR and meniscectomy.
indoor soccer

At the beginning of this process, we’re told that at 12 months, we’ll “be back”. There isn’t much context or information given, it’s just that we will be back at our sport – and honestly, that’s all we want to hear anyways. I knew there was a long road ahead. I had seen that in clients I have worked with and I knew the research – delaying return to sport, at least beyond 8 months, results in reduced risk of re-rupture or injury to the other knee’s ACL (contralateral ACL rupture).

At 12 months, I was ready to get back into game/scrimmage soccer. I had to create a women’s indoor team in Canmore, and we started playing indoor scrimmages in January 2023. My 12 month mark post-op was beginning of December 2022, so I was back in a game setting around 13 months post-op. Prior to being cleared to play, my physio and I reviewed my objective testing metrics and psychological readiness.

As I write this, I am now 18 months post-op and no, my knee doesn’t feel normal yet. I want to bring awareness to the fact that most individuals won’t feel normal at 12 months, many won’t return to sport at all or return to the level they had previously played. Even more will discontinue their rehab and stop seeing a physio or trainer.



  • Indoor soccer
  • Outdoor soccer – largest scrimmage at 8v8 with some next day soreness
  • Full hiking no major issues


It doesn’t stop at 12 months just because you have returned to sport. I am still working on single leg power, rate of force development, endurance capacity, and overall capacity. I am still struggling with being able to do hard activities (a big hike, a soccer game, and a run or strength session) back to back without knee soreness. I am training these aspects with my leg workouts and conditioning.

You can see here that my right leg (orange) and my left leg – the surgical side (blue) – still have differences. This is a single leg drop jump test showing the reactive strength index (RSI) of each leg. The aim is to be hopping high with minimal ground contact time. This would show that my leg can produce the right amount of stiffness and muscle reaction needed to quickly absorb the force from dropping from the step and then using it again to rebound upwards.

Overall, I am 95% mentally there, and 85% physically there. Once the knee soreness decreases after repeat efforts, and I have been able to play at my previous level of soccer, then I will be closer to what I feel my 100% is.

You can purchase the ACL Injuries ebook where I talk about my experience, what to expect, graft options, how to find a physio, the mental aspect of the injury, and physical timelines to expect during recovery.

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