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ACL Injury Prevention and Awareness

Female athletes are eight times more likely to tear their ACL than male athletes. And while there are several anatomical differences between men and women, research shows the main reason women are more likely to tear their ACL is due to a weakness of the muscles that support the knee.

By strengthening and training the muscles that support the knee, some studies have reported a decrease in the rate of ACL injuries in female athletes by as high as 90 percent — essentially reducing the risk of women to that of men. Many of these training programs include a variety of stretching and strengthening exercises with landing drills, which can be incorporated in an athlete’s prepractice warmup.

While research is still ongoing to determine the true efficacy of these strengthening and training programs, previous studies have shown the following:

  • The most effective programs incorporate a component of strengthening, flexibility and plyometric and proximal (hip and core) strengthening.
  • The greatest risk reduction occurs between the ages of 12 to 18.
  • Compliance with the program (performing the exercises daily) seems to increase the effectiveness of the prevention programs.

As part of our outreach program, our experts in the Women’s Sports Medicine Program at Johns Hopkins provide ACL injury awareness seminars and workshops focusing on teaching the latest information and techniques for injury prevention. These programs are particularly suited for coaches and athletes at the collegiate, high school and junior high school level. For more information or to schedule a workshop with one of our experts, please call 410-955-6825.

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Preventing ACL Tears: 4 Tips for Girls and Women


Sports injury prevention isn’t a one-stop-shop when it comes to male and female athletes. Especially for injuries like ACL tears that are 4 to 8 times more common among women than men. Read about four tips for women to help prevent this common injury from occurring.

Learn more.

ACL Tears: What You Need to Know


The anterior cruciate ligament, commonly called the ACL, is a thick, elastic band of tissue that runs from the bottom of the femur to the top of the tibia. It helps stabilize the knee joint. The ACL can become stretched or torn when the knee is twisted or hyperextended. For reasons that are not fully understood, ACL injuries are much more common in women than in men.

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