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ACL Injury: Exercises to Do Before Treatment

After an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, you lose leg strength and motion and stability of the knee. It is important that you regain your leg strength and motion as soon as possible, whether you choose to have surgery for your ACL injury or not. Exercises to regain muscle strength and knee motion should begin before you start treatment, whether treatment is a rehabilitation (rehab) program only or surgery plus rehab.

Key points

  • After an ACL injury, your knee will not be stable, may be painful, and may have a limited range of motion. You may eventually develop osteoarthritis in the knee.
  • If you do exercises to strengthen your thigh muscles (quadriceps and hamstrings) and regain knee motion soon after an ACL injury, you will be better prepared for a rehab program or for surgery with a rehab program.
  • You should start slowly and gradually increase the intensity of the exercises. Do not push yourself to the point that you feel pain. Talk to your doctor about how to best progress through the exercises.

The exercises outlined here are common exercises used after an ACL injury. But your doctor may create a specific set of exercises for you. Check with your doctor before you do any exercises.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerFreddie H. Fu, MD - Orthopedic Surgery
Last RevisedApril 5, 2012

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 05, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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