ACL injury prevention is an essential component of a well-rounded athletic training program. The most effective interventions are those that incorporate proprioceptive and neuromuscular training in addition to strengthening exercises. These types of programs improve the ability to sense and control your body’s position in space, reducing knee injury risk by decreasing uncontrolled movement.
A physical therapist can help with this by providing a comprehensive assessment, developing a program, and giving feedback on proper sport techniques. A physical therapist is also able to identify and treat weak muscles, which can also reduce the likelihood of an ACL injury.
The ACL is located in the center of your knee and provides stability when pivoting, changing direction, or jumping. ACL tears are most common in sports that require jumping, quick stops, or changes in direction. Proper technique and good form is the best way to protect your ACL. A physical therapist can provide training and instruction in proper techniques, as well as prescribe specific exercises to strengthen the quadriceps and hamstring muscles which support the knee joint.
Athletes should participate in a thorough warm-up before playing sports. This should include stretching, dynamic strength movements (lunges and squats), and plyometric drills. Studies show that incorporating these types of movements into an athlete’s regular warm-up significantly decreases ACL injury rates. The best prevention programs have a combination of both strengthening and proprioceptive training and are initiated at a younger age. There are indications that men and women respond to these programs differently, therefore research into tailored programs for each sex is necessary. acl injury prevention