By Kasey Bowser
Many athletes know this injury way too well. They hear a “pop” and feel instant pain coming from their knee while they’re running or playing a sport. It’s every athlete’s worst nightmare…a torn anterior cruciate ligament, or better known as, the ACL.
The only way to fix a torn ACL is through surgery and a lot of physical therapy. A LOT of physical therapy.
We see this injury at the Center often and it’s mostly caused by a sudden deceleration or landing/twisting maneuver with the leg in a vulnerable position.
It’s a very common injury among soccer players, specifically in young female athletes. In fact, they’re two to eight times more likely than males to injure their ACL. Why?
Studies suggest women’s alignment in their knees tend to bend inward when women land and they’re more “ligament dominant” than “muscle dominant”. Other theories suggest it may have to do with estrogen affecting the ligament’s strength.
“There are ways to prevent these injuries from occurring,” said Don Jupp, Director of Sports Performance at the Center. “There are many different unilateral/lower body strengthening exercises athletes can do to strengthen the areas around the ACL, such as single-leg squats and single-leg hops.”
It’s important that all athletes learn to land on the balls of their feet rather than flatfooted. Athletes, coaches and parents, should also make it a priority to learn how to prevent any injury from occurring, which in turn, will prevent them from missing out on playing or competing in their sport.
To learn more about injury prevention, contact your nearest location to speak to a physical therapist or strength and conditioning specialist.