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Stretches to Prevent an Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury

Stretching your quadriceps and hamstrings can help prevent anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries.

Do these stretches gradually. Do not push or bounce the stretch. You should feel a stretch, not pain. Exhale as you begin the stretch. While you hold the stretch, inhale. Exhale as you relax.

Quadriceps stretch

Picture of a person doing a quadriceps stretch
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Contract your stomach muscles during this stretch so you do not arch your back.

  1. Lie on your side with one hand supporting your head.
  2. Bend your upper leg back, and grab your ankle with your hand.
  3. Stretch your leg back. Be sure your calf is lined up with your thigh so that your knee is not twisted.
  4. Hold the stretch for at least 15 to 30 seconds, then relax.
  5. Repeat 2 to 4 times on each leg.

Hamstring stretch

Picture of a person doing a hamstring stretch
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  1. Lie on the floor. Extend your left leg out straight with your toes pointing up. If your back is uncomfortable, use a rolled washcloth or small towel for support.
  2. Bend your right knee. Gently pull your leg toward you as you straighten your knee. You should feel a gentle stretch down the back of your leg.
  3. Hold each stretch 15 to 30 seconds.
  4. Repeat 2 to 4 times for each leg.
By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Freddie H. Fu, MD - Orthopedic Surgery
Last Revised April 5, 2012

Last Revised: April 5, 2012

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Freddie H. Fu, MD - Orthopedic Surgery

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