Attention all athletes and parents:
Knee injuries are way too common. Get a biomechanical examination of your lower extremity today. Over the past 20 years, the number of young athletes presenting with anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries has increased. This is primarily due to the growing number of children participating in competitive sports at an early age and being exposed to more intense levels of training.
Female athletes have the greatest risk of ACL injuries with rates 4-6 times as high as their male counterparts in similar sports. Some of these injuries may be prevented through new forms of training, a good biomechanical screening, and appropriate coaching.
Knee injuries, especially those involving the ACL, are a significant concern for athletes. The ACL is one of the 4 major ligaments that stabilize the knee. Its primary function is to help prevent the leg bone, known as the tibia, from sliding forward in relation to the thighbone, known as the femur. Its secondary function is to restrict excessive straightening of the knee and rotation of the knee. Additionally, the ACL protects the shock absorbers of the knee, known as the menisci, from damage that could occur while jumping, cutting, rapid decelerations, quick changes in direction, and pivoting in sports.
The consequences of ACL injuries include short-term disability, pain and a treatment phase, which involves surgery, and a 6-9 month intensive rehabilitation before returning to sports is considered. The potential consequences of an ACL injury may be more pronounced for girls than boys. A study of high school athletes found that compared with boys in similar sports, girls were more likely to have surgery and less likely to return to sports after an ACL injury.
The reason ACL injuries occur is complicated and sometimes not understood. Approximately 80% of the ACL tears occur without any contact with another player while the athlete is landing from a jump, decelerating suddenly, or quickly changing directions.
There are many risk factors involved in the ACL injuries. Some are from what is called extrinsic factors such as wearing shoes with long irregular cleats which increases the friction between the foot and the turf, weather conditions which affect the playing surface such as grass fields which are either too wet or too dry, and improperly attended to; as well as, other improper equipment the athlete wears which may change their body mechanics and the interaction this equipment has with the playing field.
The other set of factors are called intrinsic factors. These Include factors such as abnormal foot mechanics, imbalance in muscle strengths, muscle tightness muscle weakness, poor core strength abnormal knee position and hip positions. These are the things we will test for at your ACL screening and make recommendations to hopefully prevent injuries like this from occurring. Call the office today (610)522-9200 to schedule your preventative screening for knee injury. Thank you.