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A 28-year-old member asked:

Can you play football with a torn acl if you use a brace and are careful?

4 doctor answers10 doctors weighed in
Dr. John Ayres
Orthopedic Surgery 38 years experience
No: Football is a contact sport. No matter how careful you try to be, you place yourself and your team mates at risk by playing with an ACL deficient knee; with or without a brace. No brace is 100% effective. If you tear your acl, it can be reconstructed, but other innjuries, like a torn meniscus, are not all reparable. A torn meniscus increases the change of developing arthritis later in life.
Dr. Christopher Hajnik
Orthopedic Reconstructive Surgery 19 years experience
Not recommended: Your acl provides stability during pivoting type activities. Assuming that you are young with minimal arthritic changes to your knee, pivoting sports are not recommended with a ruptured acl. The abnormal motion experienced by an acl-deficient knee may increase your risk for early arthritis.
Dr. Thomas Graber
undefined 47 years experience
Do You Know what you have?
Dec 13, 2012
Dr. Thomas Graber
undefined 47 years experience
If you truly have an ACL injury, I agree with what has been said, but this diagnosis should be made by someone trained to make this diagnosis. Also, injury can be mild like a sprain all the way to a complete tear. Just what it means in your case requires more detail.
Dec 13, 2012
Dr. Shaun Machen
Orthopedic Surgery 30 years experience
Not Recommended: Football is a contact sport. The risk of sustaining a subluxation (partial dislocation) event is high with cutting and pivoting. When this happens further damage can occur to the knee in terms of meniscal tears, cartilage damage, and tears of other ligaments. A brace won't protect you.
Dr. David Trettin
Orthopedic Surgery 34 years experience
Yes: At age 47 i'm assuming you are playing recreational football.If you have a well-fitted functional acl brace(don-joy defiance for example)and no other intrarticular injuries(meniscus tear) then u can try to play.Test it first by doing some hard 'cutting' on it at home or your local park.If it feels like its going to "give way' then u shouldn't play and possibly consider having it reconstucted.!

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Last updated Aug 20, 2016
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