Preventing ACL Injuries

Preventinh ACL Injuries

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Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tear prevention According to best estimates, surgeons perform 350,000 ACL reconstructions annually in the U.S. and 20% of those tears are reinjured within 2 years of repair. (Nessler, 281). An ACL injury can keep an athlete off the field for an average of 6-12 months. Due to the high prevalence and devastating impact on an athlete from an ACL injury, it is important to focus on prevention of such injuries. ACL anatomy: (Pic 1) The ACL extends from lateral femur to the anterior tibia. Its function is to restrain knee rotation as well as anterior translation of the tibia on the femur. An ACL is in its most vulnerable position and most likely to incur injury with increased internal tibial torsion and the knee in near full extension (Nessler, 282). (Pic 2). Prevention: In recent years, various teams, leagues and organizations have implemented ACL tear prevention programs. Many organizations have tried various formats and types of exercise. Studies show that the most effective ACL tear prevention exercise programs consist of three main components: plyometrics, neuromuscular training and strength training. Consistency is key in building up the proper strength and with these programs so make sure to do these at least 3x/week for 20-30 minutes. (Nessler, 283). Another important aspect of prevention is to work all of these components in all three planes of motion -- sagittal, frontal and transverse. (Quatman, 10). (Pic 3) Plyometrics: Some basic examples of plyometric exercise include double leg hop, single leg hop, lateral jumps, tuck jumps, agility ladder work. Lateral jump over — this is an example of a plyometric frontal plane exercise (Pic 4). Neuromuscular training: For neuromuscular training, think about challenging one’s balance and proprioception with single leg stability including wobble board training, bosu balance and single leg ball toss (Pic 5). Strength training: includes medicine ball throws, single leg squats, bilateral squats, nordic hamstring curl and lunges to name just a few basics (Pic 6). If you are concerned about your lower extremity biomechanics, have previously torn an ACL contact ANCPT!#prevention

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