How to prevent ACL tears

How to prevent an ACL tear

Females athletes are 3.5 times more likely to sustain a non contact ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injury than men.


ACL injuries can happen from contact ( an external force impacted the knee) or non contact (Nil external force).


The injury classically involves the subject’s foot being planted on the floor with a valgus force ( knee going inwards ). There will often be an associated a noise such as a POP and usually the knee will give way.


Players usually need to be removed from play or stop activity and swelling and/or bruising will present quickly. The problem with ACL tears is that people can often continue to walk around and complete tasks with a  slight limp. Within a week people are usually walking around with less pain/limp and its is only when they go back to pivoting and twisting activities that the knee feels unstable, painful and sometimes truly gives way ( ie you find yourself on the floor).


The usually rehab is 6-9 months or 1 year with non accelerated programs.  PREVENTION is better than cure.


Risk factors

Large Q angle ( ie knees that have a large angle between the femur and tiba)

Poor lower kinetic chain control

Poor conditioning

Poor landing control

Degree of knee laxity

Insufficient neuromuscular adaptions.


What can you do about it?

There is a fantastic program called the PEP which focuses on control

It should be used with every single football club, particular in female clubs as has a PROVEN record in reducing ACL tear.

Almost two thirds of ACL tears can be avoided by implementing the following neuromuscular warm up.


Do you need help learning the control of these exercises? Why not book in for a session to learn the program.


Do you think you’ve torn your ACL?

Why not see an expert to get it assessed properly. If we think you need an MRI we can send you to your GP with a detailed letter explaining our findings.  Call 0117 951 2328 or book online here. 


  1. Waldén M, Atroshi I, Magnusson H, Wagner P, Hägglund M. Prevention of acute knee injuries in adolescent female football players: cluster randomised controlled trial. BMJ 2012;344:e3042 doi: 10.1136/bmj.e3042.
  2. Hägglund M, Atroshi I, Wagner P, Waldén M. Superior compliance with a neuromuscular training programme is associated with fewer ACL injuries and fewer acute knee injuries in female adolescent football players: secondary analysis of an RCT. Br J Sports Med 2013;47:974-9.