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ACL Prevention – pt. 1

ACL tears are one of the most devastating injuries for an athlete or really any person who lives an active lifestyle.

Over the next few posts I’m going to dive into some factors that contribute to ACL injuries and also some of the strategies that can help mitigate ACL injuries.

For starters, although I’m titling this series ACL Prevention, the reality is, injuries like this cannot be FULLY prevented. However, they can be effectively reduced. You may ask why didn’t I title this ACL Reduction? Well, honestly, it doesn’t sound as sexy. That’s it…that’s the only reason 🙂

Types of ACL injuries

ACL injuries usually get categorized into two main categories

Contact and Non-contact.

Contact injuries are what they are. If an external object (or another human being) slams into your knee at full speed, well…let’s just say there’s not a lot you can do.

Non-contact ACL injuries are what you see when someone goes to run, jump, or cut and their knee gives out from the sheer force placed on the ligament.

The latter is what can be reduced.

Reducing ACL injuries

How do we do this?

Well it depends on a few different factors…Age, sex, sport, strengths/weaknesses, physical demands, etc.

But in short, some of the key elements for reducing these types of injuries include:

Strength training

Balance and proprioception training

Cutting and agility mechanics

Jumping and landing mechanics

And also a few other factors that people usually overlook like…

Proper nutrition, adequate rest, positive psychological input, and cross training (i.e. playing different sports, exposing the body to different movement patterns).

This list isn’t meant to overwhelm you by any means. The truth is most people could implement an effective ACL reduction program into their routine in as little as 1-2 hours a week depending on what they already have in place.

In upcoming posts, I’ll dive into some of the differences between male and female athletes and more of the nitty gritty details on how you can start to put a plan into motion for yourself (or your kid) that’s simple and easy to follow.