ACL Injury Prevention TipsTuesday, May 8th, 2012, 12:56 am
Did you know that around 150,000 ACL injuries occur in the US each year? That frightening statistic comes from a report by the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM). What is the ACL? ACL stands for “anterior cruciate ligament.” It is one of the most important ligaments in the knee, as it’s responsible for stabilizing and minimizing stress on the joint. The ACL is also unique in another way: it is highly susceptible to injury.
An ACL injury can vary in severity, from a slightly stretched ligament to a complete tear. As a common sports injury, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons explains that, “Athletes who participate in high demand sports like soccer, football, and basketball are more likely to injure their anterior cruciate ligaments.” Essentially, anyone who plays a sport heavy on cutting, pivoting, or sidestepping are at an increased risk of an ACL tear.
Preventing ACL Injuries
Of course, there is no surefire way to prevent ACL injuries, but you can certainly stack the odds in your favor. While no article can be a substitute for consulting with your physician or using your own good judgment, here are a few general ACL injury prevention programs, outlined in a report from the AOSSM:
- Balance Training: We all know that balance training can boost coordination and improve posture, but did you know it may also reduce the risk of injury, including ACL injury? This type of training uses wobble boards, mini trampolines, exercise balls and other devices to improve balance and kinesthetic awareness.
- Strength Training: Simply put, strength equals stability. Certain strength training exercises — like those involving jumping and landing — have been shown to increase stability, and reduce the occurrence of ACL injuries.
- Plyometrics: “High-intensity plyometrics may be key in reducing the number of ACL injuries,” says the AOSSM. Sometimes referred to as explosive exercises, this type of training involves rapid movements to increase muscle power.
Of course, you should always consult a Sports Medicine Physician before beginning any training program. And, while these types of exercise may reduce your risk for ACL injuries, your best bet is always to play within your means and avoid reckless activity.
ACL Surgery in Worcester
Some ACL injuries may require surgery, namely ACL Reconstruction. While you may have heard the term, “ACL repair surgery,” a torn anterior cruciate ligament cannot be “repaired”, and must instead be reconstructed with a tissue graft replacement. The procedure is usually not performed until several weeks after the injury, when swelling and inflammation have been reduced.
To find out if this procedure is right for you, don’t hesitate to contact us today. Our Orthopedic Surgery Offices are located in Worcester, and you can schedule your appointment at (508) 363-6363. Don’t hesitate — take the first step today.
Category: Injury Prevention Tips