The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) helps stabilize the knee. It is a common ligament that gets torn. My daughter tore her ACL a few years ago, requiring operative management, AND months and months of physical therapy.
How to avoid an ACL injury?
- Age (the earlier you start strengthening muscles the better).
- Use good biomechanics.
● Stretch before any exercise or athletic activity.
● Practice proper landing skills. These should include: Land with knees bent but the legs (thighs, knees, and lower legs) kept in a straight line. Land on the balls of the feet instead of the entire foot or heel
● Maintain proper body posture throughout the landing.
● Ensure both feet land simultaneously. (No one-footed landings.)
● Practice proper pivoting. Women tend to remain more erect when turning, which can stress the ACL. One exercise is practicing pivoting in a slightly crouched position with the hips and knees slightly bent.
● Increase agility by practicing running, stopping, pivoting, and running in another direction while maintaining the proper body position.
3. Compliance. This means… keep it up! Make it a routine of yours.
4.How much is useful? Any amount, but research shows that 20 minutes daily is best.
5. Exercise variety (do not do a singular sport). The body needs varied feedback.
6. Perform specific exercises to help stabilize the muscles around the knee.
● Walking Lunges – Lunges help strengthen thigh muscles (quadriceps).
● Hamstring Leans – These strengthen the muscles in the back of the thigh.
● Single Toe Raises – You use your toes (not one toe) while the other leg is raised by bending the knee. This strengthens calf muscles (back of the lower leg) and improves overall balance.
● Squats – Whether traditional or wall squat, these exercises strengthen the quadriceps and hamstring muscles while improving balance.
● Split Jumps – Several studies have shown these to be one of the best ACL injury prevention exercises. This can be a difficult exercise to perform correctly, but it is important to gradually increase the duration and intensity of split jumps to ensure the best results. They should only be done for as long as the strength and stamina are available to perform them perfectly.
I hope this helps.