Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injury Prevention
There is a lot of news today about the ACL and athletes. The ACL is one of the most common injuries in the knee among athletes. There is approximately 150,000 ACL injuries just in the U.S alone each year. The female athlete who play sports like basketball and soccer are 2 to 8 times more likely to suffer from an ACL than men.
Athletes who have suffered from an ACL injury have increased risk of developing arthritis as they get older, even if they have reconstruction surgery to repair the knee. Just this particular injury accounts for over a half a billion dollars each year with the combination of surgery and rehabilitation. So how do ACL injuries happen.
There are internal and external factors that contribute to this injury. The external factors include the disruption of the knee just before to landing or slowing down (deceleration). The internal factors are the anatomical differences between men and women. The examples would be increased hamstring flexibility, increased pronation, hormonal effects, and the differences in the nerves and muscles that control the position of the knee.
Women are at higher risk also because their knee tend to be less stiff and consequently placing more forces of the ligaments, also because of the female hormone estrogen may relax or even allow the stretching of the ACL. Approximately 70 percent of ACL injuries occur from non-contact and 30 percent from contact injuries. In a non-contact injury there is usually a landing and twisting, in this case the knee is almost straight and the knee is valgus (turned in).
The athlete is usually flat footed and the leg is in front of or on the side of the trunk. The focus on prevention is an emphasis on the nerve/muscle control of the knee. There are three components to this program plyometrics, balance and strengthening/stability. The plyometric training should emphasize proper landing techniques with proper knee and foot placement.
If you’d like more information or would like some help with your injury click the get help button below. Thanks for reading.