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Predict your risk of injury from ACL Tears. / Colin Hayes for USA WEEKEND

Tearing your ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) can limit activity ó and increase the risk of osteoarthritis. Thatís especially true for women, who are prone to tears because of the way they control their core muscles, hips and knee joints.

Dr. Timothy Hewett, director of research at Ohio State University Sports Medicine, and his team have developed tests to predict the risk of injury.

The best test is the vertical box drop. ďTake a 1-foot high box [make sure it will bear your weight], put it on the ground, and have someone videotape or watch you from both the front and side view as you jump off the box,Ē Hewett says. From the front, look to see when knees start to come together before they hit the ground. If the knees go together for half of the time or more, there is a higher risk for injury. From the side, if knees donít flex upon landing, there is a greater chance, too.

At risk? Hewett recommends tuck jumps to help strengthen legs.

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