ACL Injuries | Triggers, Treatments and Prevention
At some point, it’s likely that every athlete has heard the term “ACL” before, but not everyone knows the whole story. But what exactly is the ACL, and why is it so prone to injury? Most importantly, what steps can we take to minimize our risk of injury? Here’s a brief introduction. ACL is short for “anterior cruciate ligament.” It is one of the most vital ligaments in the knee, responsible for stabilizing the knee and minimizing stress on the joint. What also makes the ACL unique is it’s prone to injury!
Did you know that there are nearly 150,000 ACL injuries in the United States each year? That sobering statistic comes from a recent report from the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine. So, who’s at risk here? One of the most common sports injuries around, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons explains that, “Athletes who participate in high demand sports like soccer, football, and basketball are more likely to injure their anterior cruciate ligaments.” Those at an especially high risk tend to play sports heavy on pivoting, cutting and sidestepping.
Concerned? So are we! Now read on to learn a few ways you can minimize your risk of an ACL tear.
Preventing ACL Injuries
Of course, no matter how prepared you are, an ACL injury will never be completely out of the question. However, you can certainly take some important precautions! While no article can substitute for speaking with your physician or using your own good judgment, we would like to share a few general ACL injury prevention programs, outlined in a report from the AOSSM:
- Strength Training: Strength and stability go hand in hand! According to the AOSSM, certain strength training exercises — especially those involving jumping and landing — have been shown to increase an athlete’s stability, and reduce the occurrence of ACL injuries.
- Balance Training: A good balance training program doesn’t just improve posture and balance – it could also be your best bet against an ACL tear! This type of program uses devices like mini trampolines, wobble boards and exercise balls to improve balance and kinesthetic awareness.
- Plyometrics: According to the AOSSM, “High-intensity plyometrics may be key in reducing the number of ACL injuries.” Sometimes known as “explosive exercises,” plyometrics uses rapid movements to increase muscle power.
Understand, however, that you should always consult a Sports Medicine Physician before beginning any training program. And, although certain exercises may help protect against ACL injuries, your best bet is always to avoid reckless activities and train within your means.
ACL Surgery in Napa and Vacaville
To find out more about ACL Reconstruction or Sports Medicine, don’t hesitate to contact us today. Call our Orthopedic Surgery Offices at 707.258.2547 in Napa or 707.446.6206 in Vacaville. We look forward to meeting you.