After an ACL injury, there are tons of exercises one can do, but almost all of them seem to focus on the muscles around the graft, and stuff like balance exercises, plyometrics, etc...

What about strengthening the graft itself? Is this possible?

For example, the following exercise seems to put a lot of pressure on the graft for me:

So, you lie down, lift up your injured leg, and you keep the position of your thigh fixed, and then bend your lower-leg up and down. enter image description here

  • 2
    ligaments are connective tissue that connect bone to bone. As such, there is nothing to strengthen. Additionally, this is definitely something you should discuss with whoever is doing your recovery physical therapy.
    – JohnP
    May 6, 2019 at 2:17

1 Answer 1


As a person who is currently rehabbing a third aftermarket ACL (re-tear of graft)... I am no expert however I will say that I have been through 3 ACL surgeries so I have some experience. You cannot strengthen connective tissue, but you can protect it, and the best way of doing so is by keeping the muscles that support the joint strong and active. I have anterior pelvic tilt which essentially screws up my alignment from the waist down, causing extra torque on my knees. I am 4X more likely to tear an ACL. I learned, this time around, its not just about training the quads, glutes, and hamstrings for strength. I had stopped doing the balance routines, which essentially tie everything together and strengthen the area as a whole.

My personal advice to you is to keep up with the PT and stay active. If you have arthritis in the joint, keep yourself moving and stave off more damage with arthritis supplements.

Also it helps to listen to your doctor, and not do crazy things post-op - like high frog jumps. I have now developed the reputation of needing adult supervision when I work out lol. :)

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