Every year 350,000 people seek ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) reconstruction surgery in the United States. An estimated 24 to 30% of high school athletes who undergo ACL reconstructive surgery re-tear their ACL within the next several years.
Young women facing the greatest risk for ACL injuries are those who play sports involving frequent pivoting, such as soccer, basketball, lacrosse, and handball. The most common age for women to sustain such injuries is 14 to 17 years.
Although ACL reconstructive surgeries appear to be the best available treatment for ACL tears, they do sideline most athletes for 6 to 12 months and many athletes do not succeed in returning to their previous level of athletic performance. In addition, the risk of developing osteoarthritis in the knee, a degenerative condition, is increased after such injuries. Therefore, effective strategies to prevent ACL injuries in the first place or to preserve a healthy knee joint in order to reduce risk factors for a recurrence of ACL injury would be very valuable.
A research paper published in the December 2014 issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine suggests that some training methods are better than others at preventing knee ligament injuries in young women. Based on a meta-analysis of 14 previous studies, the researchers concluded that training programs that focus on strengthening the legs and hips, and stabilizing the abdomen, are the most effective for preventing injury to the anterior cruciate ligament.
The researchers carefully considered the effects of balance, jump training, abdominal stabilizing exercises, and strengthening of the legs and hips. But it was programs that focused on building strength in the back of the legs and in the hips that most significantly reduced the number of ACL injuries compared to exercise approaches that did not. Programs that focused on strengthening and developing more control of the abdomen were also shown to be very beneficial.
Our facility, Performance Sport-Care in Walnut Creek, CA, offers a variety of state of the art strength training programs that target the calf, hamstring, buttock, low back, and postural muscles as well as abdominal strengthening/toning protocols. Our programs involve the same protocols and equipment used in professional sports, but are custom tailored to be compatible and safe for people of different ages and fitness levels. If you are interested in improving your strength, improving your physical appearance, and reducing injury risk factors please contact us with your questions or concerns.