ACL injuries are one of the most common knee injuries for athletes, especially if you play sports like soccer or football or lacrosse. So what is the ACL? The ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament, in one of 4 important ligaments that help stabilize your knee. More specifically, the ACL helps stabilize your knee during cutting and pivoting motions.
ACL Injury Facts:
-ACL injury is most prevalent among young adults between the ages of 15-45, with 70% of injury coming from sporting activities.(1)
-Studies show that females are up to 8x greater risk for injury than their male counterparts (1)
So what does research say?
-Neuromuscular training can successfully reduce ACL injury by up to 81% (3)
-ACL prevention programs that are most successful include elements of stretching, strengthening, flexibility, neuromuscular control, and plyometric jumping exercises (4,5,6)
-The components of these programs can not only reduce risk of ACL injury, but may also improve sports performance (6)
-The Prevent Injury and Enhance Performance Program, or PEP Program, has many components of the exercises that have been shown to reduce ACL injury. The program typically takes 15-20 minutes and is performed 3 times per week!
-Consult your Physical Therapist! Physical Therapists use screening tools to classify persons at most risk of ACL injury. PTs also provide in-depth prevention programs that you can perform to reduce your risk for injury.
As with any medical condition, it is important to understand that these recommendations are generalized. The most successful way to reduce risk for injury is to consult the proper medical professionals to individualize a program fit to your specific needs!
1) Griffin LY, Agel J, Albohm MJ, Arendt EA, Dick RW, Garrett WE, Garrick JG, Hewett TE, Huston L, et al. Noncontact Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries: Risk Factors and Prevention strategies. Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. 2001;8:141-150
2) Sanders TL, Maradit KH, Bryan AJ, Larson DR, Dahm DL, Levy BA, Stuart MJ, Krych AJ. Incidence of Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tears and Reconstruction: A 21-Year Population-Based Study. The American Journal of Sports Medicine. 2016;44(6):1502-1507. doi: 10.1177/0363546516629944
3) Mandelbaum BR, Silvers HJ, Watanabe DS, et al. Effectiveness of a neuromuscular and proprioceptive training program in preventing anterior cruciate ligament injuries in female athletes: 2-year follow-up. Am J Sports Med 2005;33:1003–10.
4) Hewett TE, Lindenfeld TN, Riccobene JV, Noyes FR The effect of neuromuscular training on the incidence of knee injury in female athletes: a prospective study. Am J Sports Med 1999; 27:699– 706
5) Myklebust, Grethe et al. “Prevention Of Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries In Female Team Handball Players: A Prospective Intervention Study Over Three Seasons”. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine 13.2 (2003): 71-78. Web
6) Hewett, T. E. “Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries In Female Athletes: Part 2, A Meta-Analysis Of Neuromuscular Interventions Aimed At Injury Prevention”. American Journal of Sports Medicine 34.3 (2005): 490-498. Web.