A quick cut…a sudden stop…POP. Torn ACL.
It can seem so random. Contrary to the popular image of an NFL lineman suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) due to a vicious block below the waist, the vast majority–some estimates range up to 70 percent–of torn ACLs occur with no contact whatsoever.
You may be an athlete who has never suffered a torn ACL and want to do everything in your power to prevent it from happening. Or you may be recovering from a tear and hope to come back stronger while avoiding a recurrence. The resources you'll find here will give you all the tools you need to give yourself the best chance of avoiding this devastating injury.
Several elements have been consistently shown to improve knee health:
- Warming up properly before exercise, especially exercise that may involve explosive movements or quick stops and starts, is an absolute must. Though designed as an activity for a soccer team, the PEP warm up routine has been demonstrated to be quite effective in preventing torn ACLs during non-contact practices. You can certainly adapt the PEP routine for individual use, but if you choose not to go with something that structured, just remember to do enough movement–at an EASY pace–to break a light sweat. Jumping rope, easy running, even jumping jacks are a good way to get your muscles warmed up and prepared for the heavier stresses your workout will bring.
- Training to build up strength in the muscles that support the knee joint as well as overall and core strength must be followed by the athlete wishing to protect his or her ACLs. Much of the resistance work you need to do can even be accomplished at home, so even weekend warriors can work to protect themselves from a torn ACL.
- Flexibility is a key element in preventing a torn ACL. Having flexible connective tissue–tendons and ligaments–as well as the muscles themselves allows these structures to operate in their full range of motion without injury and to respond to sudden shocks while maintaining stability. Improve and maintain your flexibility through careful, progressive stretching.
Please note that It is not Torn-ACL.com's intention to provide specific medical advice to users of this website, instead we provide users with information to help them better understand their options regarding prevention of and recovery from an ACL tear. Torn-ACL.com urges users to consult with a qualified health care professional for diagnosis and answers to their personal medical questions.