Knee injuries are common among athletes of all ages, and an ACL injury is one of the most dreaded. The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) is located between the knee bones. This small but powerful ligament keeps the knee stable during rotational movements and holds the shinbone and thigh bone from sliding out of place.
Learning to train and strengthen properly may help you avoid an ACL injury. St. Elizabeth Healthcare recently held a free educational webinar to educate athletes, parents and coaches on how they can reduce the risk of an ACL injury this season.
What causes an ACL injury?
When an ACL is injured, it can be stretched or completely torn. Almost 70% of all ACL injuries are non-contact injuries that happen when you slow down quickly or change direction.
Dr. Adam Metzler, an affiliated surgeon with OrthoCincy Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine who practices at St. Elizabeth Healthcare and specializes in ACL injuries and repairs, says that ACL injuries are common during quick-moving activities.
“Sports such as football, soccer, lacrosse and basketball require a lot of direction changes,” says Dr. Metzler. “Those direction changes give you a higher likelihood of tearing your ACL.”
The most common causes of ACL injuries include:
- A direct impact to the knee.
- Collision or impact while running.
- Landing improperly from a jump.
- Pivoting and changing direction with one foot firmly planted.
- Suddenly slowing down and changing direction.
Studies have shown that ACL injuries are also more common in women than in men.
Because many athletes spent the last few months at home rather than playing summer travel sports, they may have become deconditioned, putting them at risk as the sports seasons begin.
Protecting your knee
Kathy Boehmer PT, MHS, SCS, ATC, Specialty Program Coordinator Sports Medicine, for St. Elizabeth Healthcare, says that you can decrease your risk through a proper warm-up, stretching, training and body mechanics of ACL injury.
She says, “Core and hip strength help control movement and shock-absorption. It helps take the stress away from the knee. Research shows the knee is often injured because of poor core stability.”
To reduce the risk of an ACL injury:
- Eat a balanced diet
- Improve core strength
- Improve hip strength and flexibility
- Maintain balance in hamstring and quadriceps strength
- Learn proper jumping and landing technique
- Train and condition year-round
Watch our free ACL webinar!
Watch our FREE educational webinar with Dr. Adam Metzler and physical therapist Kathy Boehmer. Our team will talk about the ACL, teach you injury prevention techniques and rehabilitation of an ACL injury. Watch the event at stelizabeth.com/livingwithoutlimits.