If you know anyone who’s experienced an injury to their
ACL, you know it’s serious business. The anterior cruciate ligament
(ACL) is one of four main ligaments that help stabilize the knee joint.
It’s also the most commonly injured ligament in the knee. People injure
their ACL in one of two ways: first is via a direct blow; for example,
when a football player gets hit below the knee joint. The second happens
when you rotate or twist your body when your foot is planted. Either
way, it can be very painful.
The good news is that you can decrease the risk of ACL injury. ACL
injury prevention programs teach athletes to avoid vulnerable positions,
improve muscle control, and improve balance and coordination. These
programs focus on the following techniques:
Warm Up – usually for ten minutes to prepare the body and muscles for activity.
Stretching – the calf, hamstring, quadriceps, hip flexors, and inner thigh.
Strength Training – includes strengthening of the hip, knee and ankle (squats, lunges, leg press).
Plyometrics – forward/backward hops, lateral hops.
Agility Drills – forward/backward running drills and diagonal running drills.
Cool down – this should be about 10 minutes to cool the muscles down and help to minimize muscle soreness after activity.