Author: Niki L. Carayannopoulos, DO
With football season in full swing, ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injuries are becoming increasingly common. (Parents, if you have a student playing football, be sure to check out this recent infographic we shared about ACL tears in football.)
Football aside, ACL tears remain one of the most common sports injuries in the Houston area. While most common among athletes who participate in sports that require quick and sudden changes in direction, anyone can experience this knee injury.
Today, I’d like to share with you an infographic by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), which highlights ten essential facts every athlete and parent should know about ACL tears.
10 Essential Facts About ACL Injuries
- ACL injuries occur in all sports, but are most frequent when playing football, basketball and soccer.
- Female athletes are more likely to experience ACL injury than male athletes.
- 50% of ACL injuries are accompanied by damage to other ligaments or cartilage in the knee.
- Surgery is generally recommended when dealing with a combination of injuries in the knee.
- 70% of ACL injuries sustained occur during non-contact sports, while 30% occur during contact sports.
- 50% of athletes diagnosed with an ACL injury will develop osteoarthritis within 10 to 20 years of injury.
- Preventative training done two to three times a week can reduce the risk of ACL injury.
- Preventative training program exercises take 10 to 15 minutes to complete and include stretching, strength training, jump training and improvements to balance and technique.
- Studies show preventative training programs can reduce ACL and other traumatic knee injuries by 50%.
- Preventative training program exercises have been shown to improve an athlete’s vertical leap, aerobic fitness and sprint speed.
As you can see, when it comes to the ACL, taking preventative measures prior to injury can potentially have a significant impact in reducing the likelihood of sustaining a torn ligament.
ACL Tear Prevention 101: Learn to Land
One of the most effective things you can do to reduce your risk for ACL tears is to learn how to properly land a jump, a topic we covered on the blog earlier this year. Key points include:
- Land softly on both feet.
- Don’t allow the knees to come together; keep the legs spaced shoulder width apart.
- Keep the trunk of the body within the boundaries of the feet.
- Land in an active/athletic position to absorb the impact.
Find an Orthopedic Doctor Near You In Houston
For more information, schedule an appointment at Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics. Call (713) 756-5546, or schedule your next appointment with an orthopedic physician online.
Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.