ACL stands for anterior cruciate ligament. It is one of four ligaments located at/around the knee joint to provide stabilization of the joint. Injury to the ACL can result in over-stretching of the ligament or partial/complete tear.

Who is at risk for ACL injury?
  • Injury often occurs with participation primarily in non-contact sports that involve quick unexpected changes in direction, single leg jump landings, and twisting movements.
  • Injury can also occur due to a strong blow to the outside of the knee (common in football or other contact sports) or with sudden hyperextension of the knee
  • Participation in these sports and activities puts the participant at a higher risk for injury to the ACL
How can injury be prevented?
Learn to ID risk factors such as
  • Hamstring tightness, quad weakness, flat feet
  • Participation in high risk (pivoting) sports such as soccer, basketball, volleyball
  • Alignment of the knee joint inside of the feet with squatting, indicating decreased gluteal activation and abnormal tension/stress at the knee
  • Excessive knee hyperextension and/or excessive joint mobility
  • Highest incidence of 15-25 years of age, higher occurrence in female (2.4-9.7% greater risk than males)
Participate in sport screenings
  • Designed to look at strength, flexibility and alignment during pre-season to ID areas to address to provide the knee with increased stability and better alignment
Pre-season prevention program
  • Designed specifically for individuals at higher risk due to modifiable alignment, muscle control, and flexibility impairments
  • Components
    • Movement mechanics ID and review
    • Proprioception/ balance training
    • Plyometrics (increased recruitment with jump take-off and landing)
    • Targeted strength training- gluteals, quad, hamstrings, calves
    • Agility training
Goal of a prevention program
  • Avoid vulnerable positions
  • Increase flexibility and strength
  • Improve proprioception and dynamic balance
  • Improve running, jumping/landing, and pivoting technique
How PT can help?
  • Observation with sport specific activities- looking at balance, alignment and control
  • Targeted exercise prescription to achieve/maintain good lower body mechanics and alignment
  • Flexibility and warm-up programs to maximize performance
  • Dynamic balance to improve foot and ankle stability
  • Post surgical rehabilitation and return to sport decisions with recovery

Location(s): Burr Ridge, Naperville