Torn Anterior Cruciate LigamentAccording the British Journal of Sports Medicine, 70% of all ACL tears are non-contact injuries as the result of sudden deceleration, landing and pivoting movements.  These are movements familiar to every soccer, basketball, football, rugby, hockey, etc. athlete.

Females are at 2-8 times greater risk for an ACL tear than their male counterparts.  Did you know that?

What accounts for the difference?

Biomechanically a small knee flexion angle (knee bend), strong quadriceps contraction and high posterior ground reaction force (like in deceleration) can increase the load on the ACL – if it gets loaded beyond its tissue capacity, it will tear.

I want to zero in on the small knee flexion.  This means that athletes at higher risk tend to bend their knees less with running, jumping, cutting and decelerating.

Why do they bend their knees less?  Some do it because they are not strong enough to perform these maneuvers from a more dynamic position and some do it because they were never taught how to land a jump or how to decelerate.

The other benefit of having a greater knee bend in multidirectional sport is the fact that you are better able to use the force from your lower body, which translates into more speed and agility on the field or court.

So what are some things you can do to reduce your risk of ACL injury?

1. Develop strength in your lower extremities – you can easily do this by working on your single leg squat which also gives you the opportunity to learn proper knee alignment.  Start with 3 sets of 6 on each leg.

If you cannot see the video in the player above, just click this link…

2. Learn how to jump following a progression and focusing on position.  Do not let your knees cave in on your landing or when you are initiating the jump.  Keep the volume low on these drills – start with 2-3 sets of 4-6 reps.

If you cannot see the video in the player above, just click this link…

3. Build stronger hamstrings so they can co-contract with the quadriceps to decrease the shear force across the knee which puts load through the ACL.  You can use this exercise to help.  Do 2-3 sets of 8 reps.

If you cannot see the video in the player above, just click this link…

Two female soccer players competing for the ballWe will show you exactly how to do it…

Because developing healthy athletes is one of our core values, we are more than happy to come out and show your team exactly how to reduce the risk of these injuries.  We will give the coaches an easy to use checklist so they can incorporate a few drills each practice to reinforce these new habits and then you can worry about winning more games rather than sitting on the sidelines with a busted knee.  We run this 45-minute active session for FREE for any team that is as serious as we are about developing healthy athletes so they can achieve their goals and live their dreams.

Email NOW to learn more and set up a time for your free team session.