Prevent ACL Tears in Soccer

Noyes Knee Institute Signature

Published On

Nov 20, 2018


Patient Education

Prevent ACL Tears to Keep Your Soccer Career Strong

Soccer players move and exercise a lot during a game, actions that could cause severe physical injuries. For example, a large number of soccer players suffer debilitating injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament that can throw their career for a loop.

Therefore, lifelong soccer players need to understand how this injury develops and what they can do to prevent it. Take active steps to prevent this injury, and you can ensure that your career doesn’t suffer a shattering mid-life crisis that could permanently end it.

Soccer Players Are at a High Risk of ACL Injuries

Most soccer players know somebody who has experienced an ACL injury because the risk of this injury is unusually high in this sport. This increased risk is due to the nature of the sport and the strain it puts on the player’s body. Extensive running, sudden shifts in direction, hard pass shots across the field, and sharp shots on the goal all put the knee under intensive pressure.

The average build of a soccer player also contributes to this injury. Most soccer players are skinny and athletic due to the demands of the sport. As a result, the knees of these players may have less support or less protective material to soften blows during player-on-player impact. Unfortunately, the increased risk of injury could cause serious side effects on a player’s success.

ACL Tears Devastate Soccer Careers 

The ACL provides the knee with stability and strength when it is in perfect shape. Unfortunately, injuries to the ACL — usually in the form of strains and tears — make the knee very unstable. For example, soccer players with ACL tears will struggle to stand up properly, let alone run, shoot, tackle, and check players during games. That lack of stability will take a player out of the game for months.

Even worse, improper care after an injury can complicate a soccer player’s recovery. For example, the ACL tear might repair in a crooked way if players put too much weight on their knee. And as most of these injuries likely happen during impact or stressful moments of a game, a player might not notice the ACL injury for a few seconds, continue to run, and cause even more damage to the ACL.

Soccer Players Can Help Prevent ACL Tears 

Soccer players need to take an active role in the prevention of ACL tears. The fact that these tears can happen to any player at any time means that strengthening the knee — and the surrounding ligaments — is critical for this step. First of all, soccer players need to perform jump routines and pivot exercises to increase the strength in their knee and to prevent strain when playing.

Players must also increase their ankle and hamstring strength, as increased strength in these areas helps boost the support strength of the knee. Flexibility exercises help to improve range of motion in the knee and the ankle and make a strain less likely.

Talk to knee rehabilitation experts before an injury to learn more about prevention methods and ways to integrate them into a soccer practice. These experts can provide exercises to strengthen the knee and can work with you after an injury to minimize its severity.

If you follow these steps, you will minimize the risk of suffering a severe ACL tear during a soccer game. And by keeping your knees healthy, you’ll increase your chances of enjoying a longer and more successful soccer career. We specialize in diagnosing and treating knee injuries.

The Noyes Knee Institute developed a special neuromuscular and strengthening program for soccer players called Sportsmetrics which is now used throughout the US and around the world. The program stresses the importance of maintain knee flexion and avoiding knee extension which highly stresses the ACL. Maintaining a proper balance and athletic posture throughout the game can be taught and most important are agility drills to maintain knee flexion when stopping and not extend the knee. These are just a few of the principles. Professional medical and orthopedic societies have position papers that state that younger athletes participating in turning and twisting sports should undergo neuromuscular training before sports participation. For more information;