ACL stands for anterior cruciate ligament. It is one of four ligaments located at/around the knee joint to provide stabilization of the joint. Injury to the ACL can result in over-stretching of the ligament or partial/complete tear.
Who is at risk for ACL injury?
- Injury often occurs with participation primarily in non-contact sports that involve quick unexpected changes in direction, single leg jump landings, and twisting movements.
- Injury can also occur due to a strong blow to the outside of the knee (common in football or other contact sports) or with sudden hyperextension of the knee
- Participation in these sports and activities puts the participant at a higher risk for injury to the ACL
How can injury be prevented?
Learn to ID risk factors such as
- Hamstring tightness, quad weakness, flat feet
- Participation in high risk (pivoting) sports such as soccer, basketball, volleyball
- Alignment of the knee joint inside of the feet with squatting, indicating decreased gluteal activation and abnormal tension/stress at the knee
- Excessive knee hyperextension and/or excessive joint mobility
- Highest incidence of 15-25 years of age, higher occurrence in female (2.4-9.7% greater risk than males)
Participate in sport screenings
- Designed to look at strength, flexibility and alignment during pre-season to ID areas to address to provide the knee with increased stability and better alignment
Pre-season prevention program
- Designed specifically for individuals at higher risk due to modifiable alignment, muscle control, and flexibility impairments
- Movement mechanics ID and review
- Proprioception/ balance training
- Plyometrics (increased recruitment with jump take-off and landing)
- Targeted strength training- gluteals, quad, hamstrings, calves
- Agility training
Goal of a prevention program
- Avoid vulnerable positions
- Increase flexibility and strength
- Improve proprioception and dynamic balance
- Improve running, jumping/landing, and pivoting technique
How PT can help?
- Observation with sport specific activities- looking at balance, alignment and control
- Targeted exercise prescription to achieve/maintain good lower body mechanics and alignment
- Flexibility and warm-up programs to maximize performance
- Dynamic balance to improve foot and ankle stability
- Post surgical rehabilitation and return to sport decisions with recovery
Location(s): Burr Ridge, Naperville