5 ways to prevent ACL Injuries while playing sports
Feb 08, 2022
ACL injuries are common among athletes. If you can prevent ACL injury, you can bypass physical trauma, an interrupted sports season, and the intensive processes of treatment.
Implement Targeted Strength Training The knee joint is comprised of three bones (the femur, tibia, and patella) which are connected and stabilized by four ligaments. The ACL, runs diagonally across the center of the knee and provides rotational stability.
Weakened knee ligaments, knee bones, and associated muscles can make athletes more prone to ACL tears and injuries. Strength training that targets the ACL and the other musculoskeletal components of the knee can significantly increase resilience against orthopaedic injury. Recommended strength training includes high-intensity jumping plyometrics and exercises that strengthen the quadriceps and hamstrings of the thigh.
Focus on Balance The majority of ACL injuries that occur during sports activity result from a quick change of direction, a sudden slow down or stop, a faulty landing, or a collision. Improving balance and strengthening the small muscles of the feet, ankles, legs, and knees can help to prevent unnatural twists and pivots that cause ACL tears and likewise improve resilience and reaction time.
Don’t Forget to Warm Up and Stretch Muscles and ligaments that are cold and stiff are far more prone to experience orthopaedic injuries. Warming up prior to intense activity can help to loosen muscles, which in turn may help to prevent injuries or reduce their severity (i.e. an ACL sprain as opposed to a complete tear).
Stretching is similarly important for loosening the body’s muscles and ligaments. Focus on stretching the muscles of the leg, especially the front and back muscles of the thigh. Stretching the rotational muscles of the ankle is similarly important, as a misguided twist of the ankle can cause the leg and knee to twist as well and may result in an ACL tear.
Use Proper Footwear, Practice Proper Technique Ill-fitting shoes can impair your balance and increase the likelihood of trips, twists, and other awkward motions that send shock through your knee joint and may result in an ACL tear. Make sure that your footwear is properly fitted and that you are wearing all appropriate athletic gear.
Practicing proper athletic technique is essential for avoiding high-impact, damaging motions. Consult with a coach or physical trainer to ensure that your technique is safe and correct.
Meet With A Sports Medicine Specialist Speaking with an expert in Sports Medicine and undergoing a physical examination can help to target any musculoskeletal weakness or vulnerabilities. An orthopedic specialist can identify areas of muscular weakness that may be susceptible to sprains or tears and advise you in the specific activities and exercises that can improve these anatomical regions.