Can you prevent an ACL tear? Tips to Keep Your Knee Healthy

by: Dr. Matt Zaudtke

Injury to the knee is one of the most common orthopedic problems facing our population. In particular, tears to our ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), one of the primary stabilizers of the knee, tends to be the most feared – yet most common – knee injuries of all. If you’re an athlete at any level, you’ve probably asked yourself at one point or another, “can I prevent an ACL tear?” While not all injury can be prevented, ACL injury prevention programs have been shown to help athletes reduce their risk.

ACL prevention programs should include a combination of exercises, education, and screening. Goals for any program should include: 

  1. Dynamic stretches to work on your flexibility. These exercises will target your quadriceps, hamstrings, groin, hips, and calf muscles. They will allow your knee to move without limitation during your sport or recreational activity.
  2. Running drills. These drills will incorporate movements such as backward/forward running, zigzag running, and bounding. These movements prime your body to incorporate many familiar movements of any sport.
  1. Strength training. Exercises to work on strength may include specific variations of squatting or lunging movements to promote stability to your knee.
  2. Core strength. Plank and bridging exercises are examples of ways to ensure our “core” is engaged properly and our brain is communicating to these muscles properly during athletic participation.
  3. Plyometrics (jump/power training). Drills that incorporate hopping, jumping, and landing are critical components of a prevention program to help train your knees to respond to powerful changes in direction.

Ultimately, the best prevention strategy includes a healthcare team with your best interests in mind to create the plan that is best for you! To discuss and create your ACL (or other injury) prevention program with an expert in the musculoskeletal system, call the caring, dedicated physical therapy team at Body One PT. We’re locally-owned and operated, with three convenient locations serving Central Indiana: North Indy/Carmel, Fishers, and Zionsville. Ready to help guard against injury? Call Body One or schedule an appointment today!