Knee injuries are common in sports. Sports Medicine Specialist can help identify weak muscles and assess athletes for proper form and technique in an effort to help prevent injuries.
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is a main stabilizer of the knee. Most ACL tears are noncontact injuries which can include:
- Direction changes
- Cutting maneuvers sudden stopping or deceleration
- Landing awkwardly from a jump
- Pivoting with the knee straight when the foot is planted on the ground.
Many times it can be difficult to assess how athletes can best modify their movements to prevent noncontact ACL injuries. It is very beneficial to speak with an athletic trainer, physical therapist, physician, or sports medicine specialist. They have a good understanding of what the ACL‘s function is and how to screen for improper form and technique. They can also screen for areas of muscle weakness. Many times, weakness is identified in the core, hip, calf, and hamstring muscles. Recently, research has allowed them to easily identify ways to improve both strength and function in an effort to prevent injuries.
Current studies have been able to demonstrate that specific types of training, such as jump and landing routines and learning to pivot properly, may help athletes prevent ACL injuries. These methods of exercises and training programs can be more beneficial if athletes start when they are young. It may be optimal to integrate a prevention program during early adolescence, before young athletes develop certain habits that increase the risk of an ACL injury.