ACL Injuries Are Quite Common Among Athletes, Learn Preventive Methods Here
If you can prevent an ACL injury, you can avoid possible physical trauma, an interrupted sporting session, and the lengthy treatment process.
According to statistics, annually, approximately 15,000 people experience sprains or tears of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). The majority of these are athletes.
The numbers are high, and ACL injury is prevalent among athletes; however, there is good news – the majority of ACL injuries can be avoided effectively by applying ACL injury prevention methods.
The orthopedic and sports medicine specialists at Complete Medical Wellness; Dr. Paul S. Ragusa and Dr. Vishal A Mehta, have compiled the following five methods for preventing ACL injuries.
- ACL injuries are prevalent among athletes.
- Steps can be taken to prevent ACL injuries.
- Warm-up and stretch before an intense physical session.
- Use shoes that fit you well and are appropriate for your activity.
- Practice proper techniques.
- Focus and maintain your balance.
- Strengthen your weak areas and muscles.
- Meeting an orthopedic sports specialist can help you recognize your weak areas.
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How to Prevent ACL Injuries
Athletes fear ACL injuries, and with the right reason, they are debilitating, serious, and common. However, it does not mean that they cannot be prevented.
There are simple measures that can dramatically reduce the risk of experiencing an ACL injury or an ACL tear.
The following are five steps that you can take to ensure you have a safe sports session and leave with an intact and healthy ACL.
1. Don’t Forget to Warm up and Stretch
Your muscles and ligaments, which are stiff and cold, are more susceptible to encounter a tear or injury. When you warm-up before any intense physical activity, it helps loosen up the muscles, which ultimately helps to prevent injuries or at least reduce their severity. E.g., an ACL sprain rather than a partial or complete ACL tear.
Stretching your body and muscles is similarly important for loosening up tightened muscles and ligaments.
To prevent an ACL tear, focus more on stretching the muscles of your legs, specifically the back and front muscles of the thigh. Also, stretching your ankles’ rotational muscles is also important. A misguided twisting motion of your ankle can cause your leg and knee to twist along with it, which may result in an ACL tear.
2. Use Proper Footwear and Practice Proper Technique
By using shoes that do not fit you perfectly, you are asking for an injury. Ill-fitting shoes can compromise your balance and increase the chances of twits, trips, and awkward motions that send shocks through your knees and may result in an ACL tear. So make sure you wear the shoes that fit you and are appropriate for the sport in which you are participating.
It is equally important that you practice proper techniques essential for avoiding damaging and high-impact motions. You can consult with your coach or trainer about which techniques are correct and safe.
3. Focus on Your Balance
Most of the ACL injuries are a result of the athletes’ lost balance due to a quick change of direction, a faulty landing, a slow or sudden stop, or a collision.
When you improve your balance and focus on strengthening the small muscles of your feet, legs, knees, and ankles, you can prevent abnormal pivots and twists that can cause an ACL tear. Also, by doing so, you improve your resilience and reaction time.
4. Implement Targeted Strength Training
Your knee joint consists of three bones – the femur, patella, and tibia, which are stabilized and connected by four knee ligaments. The most important one, ACL, runs diagonally across your knee and delivers rotational stability.
If your knee ligaments, bones, and the associated muscles are weak, they can make you more prone to ACL injuries and tears.
Strength training that focuses the ACL and neighboring musculoskeletal components of your knee can significantly increase your resilience against sports injuries.
Acclaimed strength training includes exercises that strengthen your hamstrings and quadriceps, and high intensity jumping plyometrics.
5. Meet with a Sports Medicine Specialist
A qualified orthopedic and sports medicine specialist can help you before you experience a sports injury like an ACL tear. When you undergo a physical examination, it can help your specialist target and point out any musculoskeletal vulnerabilities or weaknesses.
Your orthopedic specialist can identify areas of muscular weakness that can be susceptible to tears or sprains, and guide you in specific exercises and activities that can improve and strengthen the weakened regions.
In addition to identifying vulnerable connective tissues and muscles, your sports medicine specialist can also determine whether your joints are operating properly, or an underlying condition is impairing their function.
A healthy range of motion is necessary for avoiding sports injuries like ACL tears.
At Complete Medical Wellness, we proudly offer the most effective treatments for ACL injuries and other musculoskeletal conditions. From physical therapy to ACL reconstructive surgery, our orthopedic specialists provide the utmost care that athletes need in order to achieve a fully successful recovery from an injured or torn ACL.
It is our mission to help athletes prevent sports injuries like ACL tears. Whether you require treatment or just want to consult with our specialists for an examination to prevent a future injury, We can help.