PT Tips: ACL Tear Prevention

Posted on Aug 28, 2015

Posted in: PT Tips

This month’s tip of the month comes from another one of our physical therapists, Kari.

A big topic of discussion lately is the rate of injuries in young athletes, especially females. According to data done by SPORTSMETRICS USA, females are 2-10 times more likely to have an injury to a ligament in their knee compared to males. Although we cannot completely avoid the terrible fate of someone tearing a major ligament in their knee, we can help to prevent it. With lots of experience rehabbing ACL tears and expertise on the SPORTSMETRICS program, Kari has lots of helpful tips to keep you or your kids from tearing an ACL during year-round sports. The biggest thing Kari noted was that individuals have to strong in a “well rounded way.” This means training the body as a unit rather than in segments. It seems like these days guys tend to skip the infamous leg day, while women favor the leg day and skip the upper body as fearing they will become “bulky.” In addition to lifting appropriately for your whole body, it is key to find sports to do year-round. While high school offers a full year of sports this is definitely something kids should take advantage of. From Cross- Country to Basketball and Soccer, there are many different sports that incorporate different parts of the body, different muscles and require different strengths.

While total body strength is extremely important for prevention, it is strength in the core and hips that hold your body together. Amazingly enough this concept has reached coaches of all sorts. Recently, we have seen core and hip strengthening exercises becoming incorporated into everyday practices.

Another huge part of prevention is focusing on proper form. Unfortunately, most people are unaware of their improper form and this is something that needs to be corrected immediately if they want to avoid injury. From my time as a running coach for SPORTSMETRICS, Kari has taught me all the tools to help make sure our athletes practice with good form. SPORTSMETRICS itself is something I’ve only recently heard of. The program was created by sports medicine surgeon, Dr. Frank R Noyes and is designed to help reduce the risk of knee injuries, especially in females, as mentioned before. The official program is six weeks long and incorporates plyometrics, which are jumping activities, strength, flexibility and agility training to prepare athletes of all sorts for their sport while preparing muscles of the hamstrings to help control the knee joint. It is this program that inspired Kari to bring it to Peak Performance. Our program is a little modified from the original, but has the same goal: to prevent knee injuries. As a coach for SPORTMETRICS this summer, I have had the opportunity to teach my athletes how to control their form. The major things we focused on were knees forward, toes forward, soft landing and butt back. All of these aspects were initially hard for some of the athletes, but after a few weeks many of them were doing the jumps with great form and success. Just these simple movements help to train those key muscles to help control your knee during a game, match or race.

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Man! That was a lot of information. It all seems like simple concepts, but they are extremely important. Here are a few exercises for you to try out and share with other fellow athletes or your kids.

Hip Strengthening:

-Hip Bridge

-Step downs

-Single leg squat

-Clams

Core:

-Planks: Who doesn’t love planks, on so many different surfaces, to the side

Plyo’s Sample Program: 

-Line jumps 2 x 20 sec (Forward/backwards, side/side)

-Wall taps 2 x 20 sec

-Squat jumps 2 x 10 sec

-Tuck jumps 2 x 20 sec

-Broad Jumps 2 x 5 reps

-Bounding in place 2 x 20 sec

SPORTSMETRICS

For more information on SPORTSMETRICS visit their website and explore!