Preventing an ACL Injury
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the four major ligaments of the knee. The ACL plays a very important role in stabilizing the knee by maintaining the appropriate alignment of the tibia and femur. ACL injuries can occur in a variety of ways but are often accompanied by a “pop” felt deep in the knee, significant swelling, inability to fully straighten the knee, and feelings of instability.
Ways to Prevent Potential ACL Injury
Recent attention has focused on prevention of ACL injuries. Given the long and sometimes painful recovery, athletes can follow a few key suggestions for preventing ACL and other injuries. Specific exercises and programming may differ, but there is a common theme in all programs. Improving flexibility, strength, proprioception and your ability to jump and land safely can help reduce your chances of an ACL tear. More specifically, here are some tips:
- Strength training with specific focus on the hamstring and gluteus maximus muscles. This includes deadlift, squats, KB swings and hang clean.
- Improve core stability.
- Proper landing mechanics.
- Improve position and movement patterns, including cutting and landing techniques.
- Improve foot and ankle stability.
- Train all planes of movement.
- Practice a healthy lifestyle, including proper nutrition and adequate sleep. Preventing fatigue and getting enough rest can prevent injuries.
Addressing global movement dysfunction, both mobility and stability, will help active population prevent injury and pain.
Sano sports medicine physicians have a high interest in preventing injuries. Unfortunately, not all ACL injuries can be prevented. Everyone is prone to an ACL injury depending on activity and sport. By addressing deficiencies in your joints and movement patterns, we strive to help athletes stay in the game.
Learn More about ACL Injuries
Our Sports Medicine Surgeons