Spring is the perfect time to get outdoors to play tennis, basketball, soccer or even take up running. Being active requires our bodies to adjust to the season once again and the providers at ProOrtho want to make sure that you are not sidelined from enjoying your favorite outdoor activity this season! Injury prevention is key in sports medicine.
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of four major ligaments that provide stability to the knee joint. It is located in the center of the knee and prevents the tibia (or shin bone) from sliding forward in relation to the femur (or thigh bone) and also prevents abnormal rotation of the knee. ACL injuries most commonly occur in sports that require cutting, pivoting, and quick stops like soccer and basketball. Often the injury occurs without contact.
Immediately after an ACL injury, your knee may swell, feel unstable and may become painful when weightbearing. Many people hear or feel a “pop” in their knee when an ACL injury occurs.
Depending on the severity of your ACL injury, treatment may include surgery to replace the torn ligament followed by rehabilitation exercises to help you regain strength and stability. When ACL injuries are left untreated your knee may feel unstable and if you continue to play cutting and pivoting sports it can casue further damage to your knee like meniscus tears and cartilage damage.
If your favorite sport involves pivoting or jumping, a proper training program can help reduce your chances of an ACL injury. ACL prevention programs have been shown to decrease the risk of ACL injuries in female athletes.
ProOrtho offers the following tips on how to prevent an ACL injury:
- Learn how to move with good alignment so you protect your knees.
- Develop body awareness, strength, and balance to support your knees and ankles. Always jump, land, stop, and move with your knees directly over your feet.
- Do NOT let your knees collapse inward.
- Cut, pivot, and land from jumps with your knees more bent
- Develop strength in your hips and thighs.
- Warm up and stretch before games and practice.
- Perform a variety of drills until the movement patterns are second nature and you don’t have to think about it.
By improving your flexibility, strength (particularly of the core, hips, and legs), balance, agility, and your ability to jump and land safely, you have less a chance of being injured.
According to Dr. Clinton, “all athletes in at risk sports, especially girls and women, should participate in an ACL prevention program. This is the one thing that you can do that has been proven to prevent ACL injuries. “
If you are suffering from an ACL injury, call ProOrtho and schedule an appointment with one of their physicians at 425-823-400 or email them at ProOrthoAppointment@proliancesurgeons.com.