An ACL injury occurs when you tear your anterior cruciate ligament, located inside your knee joint. ACL injuries commonly occur due to physical activities requiring quick starts and stops such as in basketball, tennis and volleyball. Warming up and stretching prior to your workout is essential to prevent an ACL injury. Stretching also helps to rehabilitate an ACL injury. The Stretching Institute recommends that you stretch all the muscle groups in your leg to both prevent and treat ACL injuries.
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Seated Hamstring Stretch
Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you, heels flexed and toes pointing upward. Lean forward by bending from your hip joint. Slide your hands down your legs, resting your hands on your shins or ankles or holding your feet if possible. Keep your back flat and try to bring your chest as close to your thighs as possible.
Lie on your right side with your legs straight and resting on top of each other. Support your head with your right hand. Bend your left leg back, bringing your foot towards your buttocks. Reach around for your left foot with your left hand, pulling the foot closer to your buttocks. Do not twist your knee; keep it in line with your thigh. Hold the stretch for a maximum of 30 seconds, then release and repeat on your opposite leg.
Stand on the bottom step of a flight of stairs. Hold on to the railing and step your feet slightly backwards, so that your heels are just hanging off the edge of the stair. Press your weight into your heels to increase the stretch. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, then release.
Supine Hamstring Stretch
Lie on your back with straight legs. Bend your right knee and pull the knee into your chest. Raise your leg into the air, straightening the leg as much as possible without strain or pain. Hold your leg behind your upper thigh with both hands, gently pulling the leg towards your chest. Repeat on the opposite side.
Stand with your back against a wall. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart. Place your hands on your hips and slowly bend your knees, sliding your back down the wall as though you're about to sit down in a chair. Stop when your knees reach a 90-degree angle with the floor. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, then return to a standing position.