How a Sports Physical Therapist Can Decrease the Risk of an ACL Injury
The anterior cruciate ligament or the ACL is a major ligament that is part of the knee joint. This ligament helps with function and stability of the knee. Unfortunately this is a very common part of the body to injure and an ACL injury can be extremely debilitating especially to athletes. Each year in the United State there are approximately 200,000 ACL injuries and they usually occur from sports such as basketball, soccer and skiing. They can occur from both direct contact and non-direct contact. More often than not the ACL becomes injured when a person suddenly starts or stops their movement, twists their knee the wrong way, jumps and lands wrong, etc. For athletes who may be more prone to an ACL injury than someone who is less active, following a well-designed ACL prevention program can be helpful to ensure this type of injury does not take place.
Diagnosing Potential ACL InjuriesEvery athlete moves in a different way so it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly how a person can prevent an ACL injury. However, the best method of diagnosing a person who might be at a higher risk for an ACL injury is by focusing on the muscles and how strong they are. The weaker certain muscles are, the more prone a person is to moving in an incorrect way which could result in an ACL injury. Weak hips, weak legs and weak knees are all precursors for an ACL injury. The best person to diagnose weak muscles is a sports physical therapist or a sports medicine specialist.
Improving Strength and Performance
Once weak muscles or joints have been diagnosed the next step to take is improving overall strength and level of performance. This can be done with the help of a sports physical therapist who can tailor some workouts to better suit a person’s physical needs. Certain activities such as learning to pivot and jump properly can help prevent ACL injuries as well. The younger an athlete starts learning this type of proper movement and behavior, the less likely they will be to become injured when they are older. There is also a wide variety of ACL prevention program that work on balance, strength, agility and performance in their routines to help prevent ACL injury occurrences. Following a proper ACL prevention program is the best way to stay healthy and stay fit.