The 5 exercises you need to do to prevent an ACL tear

A frequent injury that a Physiotherapist will see is an ACL injury. Usually sustained on a sporting field in a non-contact way, ACL injuries in Australia and the Illawarra have become a significant talking point in recent years.

ACL injuries are commonly sustained in young athletes however they can occur in all ages and a variety of sports. The Illawarra has a strong sporting culture and as such we see a large number of ACL injuries.

There are currently multiple ways to treat an ACL injury however in this blog post I am going to focus on the best treatment of all, PREVENTION.

Here are 5 great exercises that will help prevent an ACL injury:

Double leg squat

A great warm up exercises and tool to promote good knee alignment.

  1. Set feet approximately shoulder width apart with toes facing in a comfortable direction.
  2. As you squat, push your knees out so they stay aligned with your toes, do not let them cave inwards.
  3. Generally, look to do 3 sets of 8-15

Reverse lunge

Beginning to develop more single leg strength and knee control.

  1. From a standing start hold body weight on one leg.
  2. Lunge back with the other leg as if you were ‘taking a knee’.
  3. Bend your back knee while maintaining body weight through your front leg through full range of movement.
  4. Keep front knee aligned over toes, do not let it cave in.
  5. Stand back up and repeat
  6. Generally, you can do 3 sets of 8 both sides.

Double leg bound

This exercise will work on double leg jumping and landing control.

  1. From the same stance as the squat bent into a squat position.
  2. Bound forward and land as softly as possible.
  3. Focus on knee control on the landing, cushioning the impact with your hips and keeping your knees aligned over your toes.
  4. Generally, you can do 4 sets of 6 bounds with a good rest in-between sets.

Single leg drop off step and hop

This exercise is more advanced to improve single leg landing control and single leg jumping control.

  1. Standing on a step on one leg.
  2. Drop off step, land softly on the same leg bending your hips and controlling your knee (do not let it cave in).
  3. In the same movement, hop as high as you can and land in the same manner on the same leg.
  4. Generally, you should do 4 sets of 4-6 both sides with a good rest in-between sets.

Cutting whilst running

Final sports-related exercise whilst running.

  1. Set a distance of 20m
  2. Run at 50% and turn sharply of one leg to change direction or ‘cut’, in the same run, turn sharply off the other leg.
  3. Repeat these run-throughs 3 times back and forth for a total of 6 times increasing intensity to finish your last run-through at 85%.

For further information, there are some fantastic resources out there that include ACL injury prevention programs including;

  • FIFA 11+ program.
  • AFL’s Prep-to-Play Program.
  • Netball Australia KNEE program.

If you need more guidance please don’t hesitate to contact our team on 42608574 or book online to make a appointment.

Written by Luke Hogan

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