Four tips to avoid ACL, knee Injuries

Four tips to avoid ACL, knee Injuries

One of the most physically and mentally difficult injuries to deal with is a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), or other major injury to the knee. It can sideline you for many months in an instant and often requires surgery and extensive rehabilitation.
Of course, there is no 100 percent way to guarantee you won’t get injured while playing a sport or training, but their are actually safeguards to limit the chance of suffering a serious knee injury.
Always being conscious of using proper form when pivoting, turning and landing are crucial.
It’s estimated that cutting and planting maneuvers cause about 70 percent of all ACL injuries.
Most ACL injuries and related tears or sprains are non-contact injuries, which take place during sudden twisting motions. If the feet are planted and you try to suddenly twist another way it can spell trouble.
Unfortunately for women, studies have found they are nearly three times more likely to have ACL injuries than men because of the way their weight is distributed. It’s been estimated that a female soccer player is eight times more likely to hurt her ACL than a male soccer player.
Here are four basic tips to help avoid an ACL injury:
1. Perform training drills that require balance, power and agility. Sportsmedicine.about.com suggests adding plyometric exercises, such as jumping, and balance drills that helps improve neuromuscular conditioning and muscular reactions and ultimately shows a decrease in the risk of ACL injury.
2. Consider taking part in a specific ACL conditioning program, especially if you’re a female player. You can do specific drills 2-3 times a week that stretch and strengthen the knee ligaments and strengthen surrounding muscles.
3. Stay in control while playing sports, especially basketball and volleyball. Be mindful of how you take hard, quick steps to accelerate in another direction and how you land on your feet from a jump or a step.
4. Keep good form while jumping and landing. Athletes who land with their knees farther apart seem to have less risk of ACL injury. Be especially conscious of form when muscles are fatigued as this is when injuries are more likely.

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at aaron@athomefitness.com

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