The Importance of Preventing Re-injury After ACL Surgery

Written by Dr Robert LaPrade, Additional material by Tim Spalding January 22, 2018

The special nature of ACL tears

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears are one of the most common knee ligament injuries and often lead to problems with knee function.  The ACL is very important to provide stability to the knee, especially for front to back translation (anterior to posterior) as well as rotational stability.  Thus, athletes in patients who are involved with twisting, turning, and pivoting sports, such as football, soccer, basketball, skiing, and other similar sports often have difficult with returning back to competition without an anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction.  Most ACL tears are noncontact injuries, with about 70% of them occurring without a direct blow to the knee.

Unfortunately, the rate of ACL tears across the world is increasing.  This is especially true for women, where the highest rates of ACL tears in sports are for women's soccer and basketball.  Thus, it is important to both try to prevent these injuries, as well as to address them properly after injury, to try to ensure that patients have the best outcomes.

The pages of this website of the ACL study group represent a desire to provide the best information to patients to both prevent ACL tears as well as to understand the consequences of ACL tears and where current peer-reviewed literature suggests the best treatment options are available.  The prevention of ACL tears during athletic and other activities is a strong goal of the ACL study group because it can dramatically lower medical costs and the long-term negative consequences on the knee. 

ACL Injury Prevention programs

ACL injury prevention programs have been documented to improve patient's neuromuscular control and lower extremity biomechanics and have been validated to reduce the risk of ACL tears.  ACL injury prevention programs are advocated to improve a patient's balance, overall functional performance, strength, and power, and ultimately lead to decreasing their landing impact forces.  There are many types of ACL injury prevention programs which have been tested.  It is felt that the minimum components that should be followed for these prevention programs include strength, biometrics, agility, balance, and flexibility exercises.  We hope that the following articles provide an overview of some means for patients to participate in ACL injury prevention programs, as well as to lead to better discussions with their surgeons as to current optimal treatment programs for ACL tears.

Published : Jan 2018

Further reading

National Athletic Trainers' Association Position Statement: Prevention of Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury.