ACL injuries are posing quite a problem to the female athlete. Females are anywhere from 4-6 times more likely to tear their ACL than males. The issue regarding female ACL tears is that 70% of them are non-contact in nature. This means that the primary contributor to injury is biomechanics. Studies and literature have investigated variables such as the angle the femur makes with the tibia, the size of the notch the ACL travels through, the size of the ACL itself and hormonal influences. None of these factors, however, we have any control over.
So lets look at something we can control.
The ACL is a ligament in the knee that attaches the femur to the tibia and prevents the tibia from sliding forward on the femur. Without this ligament, your knee is very instable and risk of further injury is increased. The hamstring muscles that flex your knee aid in the prevention of anterior tibial translation and work in conjunction with the ACL to stabilize the knee, along with other muscles and ligaments. 70% of ACL injuries in females are non-contact, meaning they occur while landing, jumping, cutting, etc. With this said, if we can improve biomechanics, and coordinate muscle contractions about the knee, then we can decrease the incidence of ACL injuries in women. In addition, if the postural muscles and muscles around the knee are stronger, then less stress is put on the bones and ligaments to absorb force and shock.
Goals of this prevention program are to strengthen the leg and hip muscles to create the correct strength ration between the quads and hamstrings, increase core strengthening which will in turn help maintain good posture and correct biomechanics, improve neuromuscular firing to recruit the right muscles at the right time, and prepare the athlete for the demands of soccer. A proper conditioning program can reduce the incidence of injury by two to four times.
Contact us for information about our summer ACL injury prevention and conditioning program at ACLprogram@youthconditoning.com