Skip to main navigation Skip to main content Skip to footer For Medicare For Providers For Brokers For Employers Español For Individuals & Families: For Individuals & Families Medical Dental Other Supplemental Explore coverage through work How to Buy Health Insurance Types of Dental Insurance Open Enrollment vs. Special Enrollment See all topics Shop for Medicare plans Member Guide Find a Doctor Log in to myCigna
Home Knowledge Center Wellness Library Preventing ACL Injuries

Preventing ACL Injuries

Topic Overview

A lot of the research on preventing anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries has focused on women: women athletes injure their ACLs up to 8 times as often as men athletes.footnote 1 Although the following tips come from women's programs, they can help anyone prevent ACL injuries.

  • Training and conditioning should take place year-round. Strength and stretching exercises in the off season will help coordination and balance when the season starts.
  • Always warm up before training or competition, such as jogging easily or riding a stationary bicycle for 5 to 10 minutes. Warming up your muscles reduces the risk of injury.
  • Make stretching part of your warm-up before the activity and your cool-down after the activity. Stretching can help you keep and improve your range of motion and reduce stiffness in your joints. It may also reduce soreness after exercising and reduce the risk of injury.
  • Practice landing skills. This is especially important for women, because they don't usually bend their knees as much as men do when landing from a jump. Not bending the knees enough exposes them to more pressure and increases the risk for an ACL injury. When landing after jumping:
    • Land with the knees bent. As the knees bend during landing, make sure they travel in a straight path. Do not let them move closer together.
    • Land softly on the balls of the feet and roll back onto the heels.
    • Keep your knees and hips aligned and your upper body upright. Don't bend too far forward or backward as you land.
    • Try not to land on one foot. If this is not possible, bring the other foot down as soon as possible to distribute weight evenly.
  • Improve agility. Women tend to turn and pivot in a more erect position than men, which strains the ACL. Learning to crouch and bend at the knees and hips when turning may reduce the stress on the ACL. Agility exercises include running forward and backward and running in diagonals (run diagonally to one spot, then cut the other way and run to another).
  • Work on muscle strength. The muscles in the back (hamstrings) and front (quadriceps) of the thighs work together to bend or straighten the leg. Women tend to use their quadriceps when changing direction rapidly. This can result in an ACL injury. Stretching and strengthening the quadriceps and hamstrings can help reduce the risk.


Plyometrics help build power, strength, and speed, and also help you practice landing skills. When you practice these skills, a coach can give you specific instructions and watch to be sure you are landing correctly.

  • Jump and spin. On the same spot, bend your knees and jump into the air. Spin one-quarter turn (90 degrees) to the right and land on both feet. Repeat to the left. Advance how much you spin to a half turn, three-quarters turn, and full turn.
  • Tuck jumps. On the same spot, jump straight up with your hands at your side. As you jump, bring your knees up toward your chest. Repeat immediately 10 times.
  • Hopping. You will need a small object to hop over for this exercise. You can start with a small object like a book or even a piece of tape along the floor. Place the object or tape on the floor to your left, and hop over it using both legs. Then hop back to your right. Hop back and forth over the object 20 times. You may also hop back and forth on one leg.



  1. Seroyer S, West R (2007). Anterior cruciate ligament section of Injuries specific to the female athlete. In PJ McMahon, ed., Current Diagnosis and Treatment in Sports Medicine, pp. 259–260. New York: McGraw-Hill.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

© 1995-2022 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Related Links

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injuries

<cipublic-spinner variant="large"><span>Loading…</span></cipublic-spinner>

Page Footer

I want to...

Get an ID card File a claim View my claims and EOBs Check coverage under my plan See prescription drug list Find an in-network doctor, dentist, or facility Find a form Find 1095-B tax form information View the Cigna Glossary Contact Cigna


Individuals and Families Medicare Employers Brokers Providers

Secure Member Sites

myCigna member portal Health Care Provider portal Cigna for Employers Client Resource Portal Cigna for Brokers

Cigna Company Information

About Cigna Company Profile Careers Newsroom Investors Suppliers Third Party Administrators International Evernorth

 Cigna. All rights reserved.

Privacy Legal Product Disclosures Cigna Company Names Customer Rights Accessibility Non-Discrimination Notice [PDF] Language Assistance [PDF] Report Fraud Sitemap


Individual and family medical and dental insurance plans are insured by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (CHLIC), Cigna HealthCare of Arizona, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of Illinois, Inc., and Cigna HealthCare of North Carolina, Inc. Group health insurance and health benefit plans are insured or administered by CHLIC, Connecticut General Life Insurance Company (CGLIC), or their affiliates (see a listing of the legal entities  that insure or administer group HMO, dental HMO, and other products or services in your state). Accidental Injury, Critical Illness, and Hospital Care plans or insurance policies are distributed exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, are administered by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, and are insured by either (i) Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (Bloomfield, CT); (ii) Life Insurance Company of North America (“LINA”) (Philadelphia, PA); or (iii) New York Life Group Insurance Company of NY (“NYLGICNY”) (New York, NY), formerly known as Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York. The Cigna name, logo, and other Cigna marks are owned by Cigna Intellectual Property, Inc. LINA and NYLGICNY are not affiliates of Cigna.

All insurance policies and group benefit plans contain exclusions and limitations. For availability, costs and complete details of coverage, contact a licensed agent or Cigna sales representative. This website is not intended for residents of New Mexico.

Selecting these links will take you away from to another website, which may be a non-Cigna website. Cigna may not control the content or links of non-Cigna websites. Details