How to Prevent a Torn ACL
The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is one of the four main ligaments in our knee joint which provides stability to the knee. Of the all four fibrous bands, an ACL tear or rupture is the most common knee injury. Continue reading for helpful insight from San Francisco ACL Doctor, Dr. Jeffrey Halbrecht.
ACL injuries are most often seen in athletes playing soccer, football, volleyball, and basketball since the knees are the most utilized joints in these high demand sports that involve constant knee twisting, planting and changing direction.
Children are more likely to injure their anterior cruciate ligaments since they are the most athletically active. In some studies, it has been shown that women are nearly three times more at risk of suffering ACL injuries than men.
If you have ruptured your ACL, you may require ACL surgery for reconstruction of the ligament or another type of knee surgery to regain full function of your knee.
How to Reduce Risk of ACL Injury?
Before understanding the ways to minimize the risk of ACL injuries, one should understand how the ACL injury occurs. ACL injuries most often occur in the sports field due to sharp, cutting movements or sudden change in direction. A ligament can also be damaged due to awkward landing, falling on the snow or in a road accident.
Here are some steps that you can take to help reduce your risk of ACL injuries for your children:
- Leg muscle strengthening
- Neuromuscular training
- Time off from your sport
- Warm up routine
- Footwear and orthotics for weaker knees
Several studies demonstrate that leg muscle strengthening exercises and activities including hamstring curls, walking lunges and straight leg lifts. These exercises help you to have a more stable knee joint. A strong and stable knee joint can hold the ligaments firmly in place during sudden movement and twisting actions.
For the ACL injury prevention, athletes, especially females athletes, must undergo neuromuscular (balance and speed) training. It teaches us how the knee should move when landing, jumping and pivoting. Studies show that neuromuscular interventions reduce the risk of ACL injuries by approximately fifty percent.
An athlete needs sufficient time to rest in-between training and games. If an athlete overstresses his/her body, it’s possible that the tissues and ligaments will eventually break down.
If your child has a weak knee or feels any instability in the knee, wearing the appropriate athletic shoe or a brace can improve his\her comfort and confidence level, and most importantly, protect the knee from instability injuries. If your child gets an ACL injury, visit an ACL specialist right away.
To reap the benefits of strength building exercises and neuromuscular training, you need to add warm-ups and stretching to your fitness program. Stretching and warm-up sessions allow you to prepare for activity and warm up your muscles before the high-demand physical activity. They also increase your flexibility and greatly reduces your risk for ACL injury.
Contact San Francisco ACL Surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Halbrecht at IASM
For the best medical attention if ACL injuries occur, contact ACL surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Halbrecht in San Francisco. For questions or concerns, contact us today at (415) 923-0944 or fill out our online contact form here.