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Old 12-07-2007, 07:52 AM   #5
Corey Duvall
Member Corey Duvall is offline
 
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Asheville  NC
Posts: 340
Re: What to avoid with torn ACL (surgery not an option - now)

You've been without it ten years, have you noticed problems other than these exercises?

The ACL prevents sliding of the tibia when the leg is passive, but when active it acts as a position sensor. It tells your brain the position and stresses that are on the knee, along with all the other ligaments of the knee. Repairing the ACL will limit the sliding of the passive leg, but you never get that position sensor back. What your body learns to do is utilize the other position sensors to a greater degree. When your leg is active the muscles prevent the sliding, not the ligaments. This is why open-chain exercises (leg extensions) are no where near as beneficial (and possibly detrimental) as closed chain exercises (squats, deadlifts). Closed chain exercises engage ALL the muscles surrounding a joint, not just the muscles moving in one direction. I've got a professor here at school who plays basketball with us on a regular basis without an ACL and says he never notices problems at all (knock on wood). IMO, the knee giving out is a result of a misfiring of the musculature, and not of the lack of an ACL itself. Train only closed chain exercises and use caution when approaching fatigue (will result in a higher likelihood of misfirings). I believe that you can push the limits of your fatigue, but understand that it will take greater and greater focus to maintain that proper positioning.

If there is no swelling/inflammation in the knee, a lack of an ACL should not cause pain when doing these exercises. If it does, you need to check your technique, knees diving inward or weight coming forward on the toes will create excessive torque on the knee, but a proper squat or deadlift (or any of the other exercises in the repertoire) will not cause pain.

Let us know how things progress.

That said, I had my left ACL replaced when I was in high school ('98) and have had no problems since.
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