What exercises might help me prevent an ACL tear from occurring again?

Darin Padua
Sports Medicine
There are several things you can do through exercise that may help prevent a second ACL injury.  Research shows that a lack of symmetry in single leg balance, strength, and movement biomechanics are strong predictors of someone suffering another ACL injury.  Thus, to prevent this from happening it would be beneficial to include single leg balance training as part of your regular exercise program.  Also, increasing the strength of your quadriceps and hamstrings on the previously injured side is also important.   Finally, focusing on quality technique when performing the exercises is especially important.  Specifically focus on equal weight bearing on both limbs when performing exercises on both legs.  Also, important is keeping your knees aligned over your toes, keeping your toes pointing straight ahead, and making sure to bend your knee and hips when making contact with the ground to best absorb the impact forces.  By including these types of exercises in your regular exercise program you may best prevent the occurence of a second ACL injury.

There are a few exercises that will be great for you to add to your program to prevent a recurrence of an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tear. Exercises to try are step-ups, lateral tube walking, and single-leg balance reach. These will help incorporate all of the muscles of the lower extremity as they work together to assist in lower-extremity control; this is the way we naturally use these muscles in everyday function. Also, these exercises will force you to learn how to balance and stabilize yourself in more unstable environments. This will be important to ensure you develop proper ankle, knee, and hip control to decrease the stress at the knee. Lastly, when performing these exercises, keep your knee in the proper position at all times (in line with the toes) so you do not place additional stress on your ACL.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.