The human knee is composed of three separate bones that function together to provide a wide range of flexible movements that make many activities possible. The anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, runs through the center of the knee joint to connect these bones. Injuries of the ACL often occur and are accompanied by pain on walking, swelling of the knee and problems with range of motion in the knee.
Keeping your anterior cruciate ligament strong can help to avoid these injuries. Here are seven exercises you can do to prevent ACL problems:
Stand with both legs together and hands on hips. Step your left leg back and bend your right knee over the right ankle. Straighten and bend the knee slowly to maximize the strengthening effect. Repeat 10 times and change to the other leg.
Once you have mastered the stationary lunge comfortably, you can add walking movement to the exercise to provide an additional workout for the ACL. Remember to do the walking lunges very slowly to maximize the strengthening to the supporting muscles and ligaments of the knee.
3.The bridge stretch
Lie on your back and walk your feet toward your torso until they are under the level of your knees. Extend your arms along the floor with palms downward. Push down on the soles of your feet, raising your hips upward and lifting your chest. Hold for 20 seconds and then walk your feet back out and relax. Repeat 10 times.
4.Bridge with leg lift
This exercise combines the bridge position described above with a leg lift. First, the left leg is raised to the ceiling and held for 20 counts. Drop the leg to the original position and raise the other leg. Hold for 20 counts. Add 10 counts daily until you reach a full minute for each leg.
5.The moving warrior
Stand with legs about one leg’s distance apart with the feet parallel. Pivot the right foot to a 90-degree angle, lining the right heel up with the left arch that is some distance away. Lift the navel toward your chin for additional stretch. Bend the right knee and hold for 10 breaths. Then, straighten the leg and pivot the left foot. Repeat the exercise.
6.Reclining leg raises
Lying on the floor, support your back on your forearms. Bend the left leg, keeping the foot on the floor. Raise the right leg upwards, level with the opposite leg’s knee. Bend and hold the leg 25 times. Lower the leg and repeat on the opposite side.
7 .Leg slides
Lie on your back on the floor with legs rest upward on the wall. Cross your ankles and bend the knees slightly. Slide your heels up and down the wall 20 times. Reverse cross your ankles and repeat.
Doing these exercises on a regular basis will help to strengthen the ligaments within the knee and will prevent the common problem of ACL injury.