Medically Reviewed by Patrick K. Denton, MD
The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) is:
There’s no multiple-choice test here. All four of those facts are true.
“Most of the ACL injuries we see are triggered when an athlete is landing or stopping short – not by running into another player,” says Orthopedic Specialist Patrick Denton, MD. “Preventing ACL injury is important, because nearly half of people who suffer an ACL injury will end up with osteoarthritis later in life. And that problem can lead to joint replacement surgery.”
IT’S THE MECHANICS
Poor mechanics when jumping and landing — causing knees to turn inward (knock kneed) or extend beyond the toes — increase the risk of ACL injury. Several factors unique to females – such as one leg significantly stronger than the other and poor core strength compared to their legs – increase their chances of damaging their ACL.
To avoid ACL injuries, programs are available to assist young athletes improve their skills, stability, and strength. Most of these programs focus on training nerves and muscles (neuromuscular) to respond correctly.
LOW COST, MANY BENEFITS
These exercises are relatively inexpensive and can be incorporated by a coach in team warm up exercises.
When correctly accomplished, training improves the athletic experience in two ways:
Strains, Sprains & Tears: Common Knee Ligament Injuries
Young Women Beware of an ACL Tear
”Pop” Goes the Meniscus. When the Knee’s Shock Absorber Fails.
Find an Orthopedic Specialist near you.
For information about Sports Injury Prevention Programs, click here.
Sources include: McLeod Health, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, Osteoarthritis Action Alliance, National Institutes of Health, American Academy of Pediatrics