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Sports Medicine

Post, Grade 1 ACL & Meniscus Tear

03/15/2011

Question:

Its been 3 months now since I injured my left knee while playing soccer, the doctor told me I had a grade 1 meniscus tear & a grade 1 ACL tear, after my last meeting the doctor told me I could start playing again, he has also advised me to wear neoprene hinged knee braces, which I wear everytime I get out of the house or go to the gym or play, my question is, I played soccer today after a gap of 3 months, I couldn`t run a lot, but I tried to stretch my left leg while collecting the ball & I felt a sharp pain at the back of my left leg, right behind the knee, the pain went away in a few minutes & I continued playing cos the doctor had told me it would hurt in the beginning, I wanted your opinion too, is it the ACL that is hurting or is it something else? .....I am a 22 year active male & I really wanna continue playing soccer for my club....

Answer:

A Grade 1 meniscal abnormality by MRI indicates meniscal degeneration but not necessarily a symptomatic tear. A grade 1 ACL tear means microscopic tearing of ligament fibers but not enough to lengthen/loosen the ACL.

A three month period during which symptomatic stresses to the knee have been avoided, and also during which a progressive rehabilitation regimen has been undertaken, should be sufficient to allow a person to gradually and progressively resume desired activities, with the starting point and rate of progression based on the exercises and activities that person has demonstrated the capability of performing during this rehabilitation program.

Although it's not clear why you'd be wearing a pair of neoprene hinged knee braces when you mentioned problems with just your left knee, regardless, neither a neoprene sleeve nor a solid/shell type knee brace will necessarily prevent knee injury or re-injury.

To determine whether your recent pain is due to your ACL injury or something else, a follow-up visit with your physician is necessary since this requires a physical examination at the least.

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Response by:

Brian L Bowyer, MD Brian L Bowyer, MD
Clinical Associate Professor
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University