Most people have heard of someone tearing his or her ACL, but what does that mean? Let’s take a look inside the knee to shed some light on this common injury. Football, soccer and basketball athletes – be sure to pay close attention, your sports have the highest risks for developing ACL injuries! Below, you can see the location of the ACL and the differences between normal and injured anatomy.
What Does ACL Mean?
ACL stands for anterior cruciate ligament. This is a ligament in the knee that helps stabilize it. It connects the thighbone (femur) to the shinbone (tibia). More specifically, it prevents the tibia from slipping too far forward. This injury often occurs in sports where there are sudden stops, changing direction, jumping and landing. As mentioned before, it is common to see these injuries occur in soccer, basketball, and football.
What Are the Risks for Developing ACL Injuries?
Certain risk factors predispose atletes to an ACL injury. Unfortunately, some of these are not able to be prevented. One risk factor is gender. Females have a higher rate of injury to the ACL due to the differences in anatomy, muscle and hormones. Playing on artificial turf is another risk factor due to the increased torque that is applied to the knees. Poorly fitting shoes or sports equipment can also lead to an ACL injury. Lastly, poor conditioning sticks out like a sore thumb, as this is one of the most commonly identified risks for developing ACL injuries. Participating in a conditioning program that has been developed by trained individuals is a great approach!
Prevention of ACL Injuries
It’s important to note that no injury is truly preventable, but there are some things that can be done to help minimize the risk of injury. First, training properly can be a preventable factor. Making sure strength, agility and mobility drills are being done is one way to help prevent knee injuries. Also, making sure overtraining is not taking place will reduce the risk of an ACL tear. By participating in an ACL prevention program, focus is placed on reducing overall risks for developing ACL injuries. Target areas to focus on include training the glutes, core, legs, and hamstrings. It is also important to include landing drills, pivoting drills and jumping technique as the athlete progresses through a rehabilitation program.
What You Can Do!
It never hurts to be proactive, rather than reactive when considering sports injuries. Our chiropractors at Elite Sports and Spine Chiropractic can help develop a personalized injury prevention program to minimize the risk of a knee injury. Furthermore, we can help you identify the risks for developing ACL injuries among your athletes. Contact us today – we develop sport specific programs to help individual and group based settings for athletes of all skills and abilities!