ACL Injuries Six Times More Likely after Reconstruction

Studies suggest that athletes who have undergone anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction are six times as likely to require another ACL surgery within 24 months as someone who has never experienced an ACL tear.

Data highlights:

  • 78 subjects (59 female, 19 male) between 10 and 25 years old vs. 47 control subjects
  • Subjects underwent ACL reconstruction and were ready to return to a pivoting/cutting sport
  • Each subject followed for injury and athletic exposure for a 24-month period after returning to play

Twenty-three of the ACL recon subjects and 4 control subjects suffered an ACL injury. Within the ACL recon group, female athletes were two times more likely to incur an injury on the opposite knee than on the previously-injured knee.

Overall, 29.5% of athletes suffered a second ACL injury within 24 months of returning to activity with 20.5% sustaining an opposite leg injury and 9% incurring graft re-tear injury on the same leg. A higher proportion of females (23.7%) suffered an opposite leg injury compared to males (10.5%).


Second ACL injuries 6 times more likely after reconstruction, American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, July 2013