“ACL injuries have become a youth sports epidemic and are the No. 1 sports injury we operate on at our outpatient surgical center,” says Jennifer Beck, MD, associate director of the Center for Sports Medicine at the Orthopaedic Institute for Children, in a media release.
“The injury is most common in sports that involve sudden changes of direction—such as football and soccer—but fortunately there are some basic things athletes can do to lessen the chance of injury.”
Beck notes in the release that most ACL injuries are not the result of contact with another player but rather occur during sudden twisting motions (such as when the feet are planted one way and the knees are turned another way), or when landing from a jump. Factors that can contribute to ACL injuries include biomechanical issues such as muscle strength and leg alignment, as well as sport technique and preparation.
Young athletes can reduce their risk for ACL injuries by performing training drills that require balance, jumping, power, and agility.
“Drills such as these also help improve neuromuscular conditioning and muscular reactions and have shown to ultimately decrease the risk of ACL injury,” Beck adds.
Other exercises could include focused stretches, leg raises, leg lifts, prone hip extensions, and sidesteps.
Along with these tips, the OIC Center for Sports Medicine advises parents and coaches to ensure that young athletes don’t skip the warm-ups, drink enough fluids, use proper equipment, and never play through pain.
“We want children to have fun, but it is also important to have a common sense approach to playing and to not ignore injury,” Beck shares. “While rest, ice, and ibuprofen can help reduce basic soreness, if pain persists parents should contact a physician. Failure to address a sports injury properly and promptly can lead to lifelong problems.”[Source(s): Orthopaedic Institute for Children, Business Wire]