One of the most common knee injuries among athletes is a torn ACL. The anterior cruciate ligament is one of four major ligaments that provide stability to the knee joint. The fibrous bands attach bone to bone and help to limit excessive movement of the knee joint, preventing hyperextension.
ACL injuries tend to be common in sports that involve a sudden change in direction, such as soccer, football, and basketball. A sudden twisting motion, like when an athlete’s foot is planted in one direction and their knee turns the other direction, is a common cause of an ACL tear.
The majority of ACL repairs that occur each year are performed on athletes under the age of 25. To help circumvent this issue, we have several suggestions to keep athletes on the field this fall by reducing their risk of ACL injuries:
• Athletes should stretch and warm up prior to any conditioning, practice, or game.
• Exercises that involve balance, plyometrics, and agility help strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee, making the ACL and other ligaments less likely to tear because the muscles surrounding the knee are stronger.
• Using proper techniques in any training or exercise, including jumping and landing, decreases the likelihood of an ACL injury in practice or during competition.
• Adequate rest is essential to staying healthy and agile to perform at higher levels with fewer safety risks.