Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury has been and continues to be a hot topic.
Can we prevent ACL injuries? In a word, no. However, we can reduce the risk of injury. Let's start by looking at how ACL injuries often happen. Then we can work backward to reduce the risk of ACL injury.
We've broken down the anatomy already in this post here, now let's take a look at how ACL injuries commonly happen.
We know there is a common mechanism of injury.
This mechanism can be a result of two events. A contact event, where another athlete, object, or force puts the knee in a position that causes the ACL to rupture or a non-contact event where the athlete is cutting, decelerating, jumping, or landing that pushes the knee into a position with enough force that it causes the ACL to rupture.
This position of the body for the mechanism of injury is most commonly: Foot planted, knee caves in (knee valgus), hip rotates in (hip internal rotation), and the knee flexes. Although we can get in and out of this position any time we want with no consequence or injury, when combined with high forces or an outside force it has the potential to cause an ACL rupture.
It is important to understand this mechanism in order to understand what can be done to reduce the risk of an ACL injury.
Working with athletes on the movements mentioned above (cutting, decelerating, jumping, landing) are essential for any strength and conditioning program.
Also, working with athletes in ways that have them react quickly can further build resilience and reduce the risk of injury.
We've stated many times before that pain and injury are inevitable throughout life and an athlete's career.
However, an understanding of the mechanism of injury, how it relates to the movement demands of the particular sport that athlete plays, and how strength training may reduce risk of the injury should be vital for all athletes.
On our next segment in Recharge ACL week we will be touching base on movements that can reduce the risk of injury and where the focus should be for training to do so.