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ACL Injuries and Prevention

Are you an athlete or a parent of an athlete?  If so, you have probably heard of the dreaded ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tear.   It is becoming a VERY common injury in today’s youth.  In fact, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics in 2017 stated that in females ages 13-17, there has been a 59% increase in ACL tears over the past 13 years.  Why is this you ask?  Here are a few reasons below that are supported by quality research.

  1. 1. Specialization in sports at an early age
  2. 2. Year-round play of the same sport
  3. 3. Limited rest/recovery between practices/games and many times multiple games in a day can lead to fatigue which decreases the efficiency of your body to protect against injury.
  4. 4. The number of girls playing sports (including contact sports) has increased dramatically which may contribute to the increased number of ACL tears.

So what can you do to prevent an ACL tear from occurring?

  1. 1. Give yourself rest/recovery time in between practices/games/activities.
  2. 2. Make sure you are physically fit for your specific activity/sport.
  3. 3. Participate in an ACL prevention program or perform neuromuscular training exercises on your own on a consistent basis, practicing proper form/mechanics with squatting, lunging, jumping, etc..
  4. 4. Encourage your coach to implement ACL prevention exercises into your warm up and cool down for your practice and games.

For more information on ACL tears, ACL reconstruction, or ACL rehabilitation, please contact Omaha Physical Therapy Institute!

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Herzog, M, Marshall S, Lund J, Pate V, Mack C, Spang J.  Incidence of Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction Among Adolescent Females in the United States, 2002 Through 2014. JAMA Pediatr. 2017;171(8):808-810. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2017.0740

Donnell-Fink LA, Klara K, Collins JE, Yang HY, Goczalk MG, Katz JN, Losina E. Effectiveness of Knee Injury and Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tear Prevention Programs: A Meta-Analysis. PLoS One. 2015 Dec 4;10(12):e0144063. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0144063. eCollection 2015.

Prodromos CC, Han Y, Rogowski J, Joyce B, Shi K. A meta-analysis of the incidence of anterior cruciate ligament tears as a function of gender, sport, and a knee injury-reduction regimen. Arthroscopy. 2007 Dec;23(12):1320-1325.e6.

Noyes FR, Barber-Westin SD. Neuromuscular retraining intervention programs: do they reduce noncontact anterior cruciate ligament injury rates in adolescent female athletes? Arthroscopy. 2014 Feb;30(2):245-55. doi: 10.1016/j.arthro.2013.10.009. Epub 2013 Dec 30.

Sadigursky D, Braid JA, De Lir DNL, Machado BAB, Carneiro RJF, Colavolpe PO. The FIFA 11+ injury prevention program for soccer players: a systematic review. BMC Sports Sci Med Rehabil. 2017 Nov 28;9:18. doi: 10.1186/s13102-017-0083-z. eCollection 2017.