3 Ways To Minimize ACL Injuries

Posted on: 24 June 2021

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries are common in sports where you change direction rapidly or risk a direct hit to your knees. In some cases, this type of injury can be disabling and lead to a shortened sports career. The best way to minimize the impact of ACL injuries is to incorporate protective measures into your sports training.

Warm Up Your Joints And Soft Tissues

Keeping your joints and soft tissues mobile and pliable requires them to be warm. During the colder months, you should consider wearing athletic wear that is designed to better insulate your legs by retaining body heat. Regardless of the time of year, it is imperative to warm up and stretch before any event or conditioning. Running in place or taking a short jog can help loosen up your knees. Doing some gentle stretches is another important way to loosen up your joints. Stretches that target the rotation of your joints at the knee and ankle are also important because ACL injuries frequently occur during rotation.

Have A Comprehensive Training Program

Every sport should have a comprehensive training program that is not merely focused on activities for the sport. Strengthening the muscles in the front and back of the leg, such as the quads and hamstrings can reduce the incidence of ACL injuries. Some common exercises that focus on the leg muscles are squats and lunges. You should also include different variations of both squats and lunges since they are designed to target different muscle groups. Some athletes also perform controlled impact on their knees to help strengthen the muscles and soft tissues that support the knee. Box jumps are a good example of controlled impact.

Wear The Right Gear

During sporting events and scheduled practices, you are often required to wear the right gear. However, if you are exercising or practicing on your own, you may be tempted to wear any comfortable shoe. Your footwear can be equally as important as exercises for preventing injury. The best way to be fitted for the proper shoes is to go to a shoe store, especially one that specializes in athletic shoes. Both children and adults should have their feet measured regularly. Children may need to have their feet measured multiple times per year since they grow rapidly. Adults often do fine with yearly measurements. In addition to the size and width, a specialized shoe store can determine pronation, the need for heel stability, and where you land on your foot as you walk. These can all factor into the right shoes for you.

Some ACL injuries might be preventable by doing what you can to increase the strength and flexibility of your legs. Additionally, wearing the right shoes for your sport and selecting options that fit your unique needs can also prevent injuries. For more information on preventing ACL tears and other sports injuries, consult with a sports medicine service in your area.