The best way to prevent anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries is to stretch and strengthen the leg muscles, especially the front and back muscles of the thigh (quadriceps and hamstrings).
You may help prevent ACL injuries if you:
- Avoid wearing shoes with cleats in contact sports.
- Avoid wearing high-heeled shoes.
- Avoid sports that involve lots of twisting and contact.
If you have already had an ACL injury, you can avoid another one by:
- Strengthening the injured knee through rehabilitation (rehab) exercises.
- Changing your sports techniques to avoid motions that might stress the injured knee.
- Changing your lifestyle to avoid sports that have a high risk of injuring your knee further, such as skiing, football, soccer, or basketball.
- Wearing a knee brace during high-risk activities. But braces should be used only if rehab is also being done. Wearing a brace alone may be of little benefit and may give you a false sense of security.
Programs to prevent ACL injuries are available. These programs typically emphasize injury awareness, avoidance techniques, and stretching, strengthening, and jumping exercises to help reduce ACL injuries.
You can help prevent ACL injuries by practicing landing with the knees bent after jumps and crouching when pivoting and turning.