CAN YOU PREVENT ACL INJURIES?
Risk Reduction Techniques
With football season back in full swing, every sports fan has their fingers crossed that a star player on their team won’t end up on injured reserve with a blown-out knee. In fact, 33 NFL players tore an ACL during the four weeks of this year’s preseason. Even as knee ligament replacement and rehab have improved over the years, a ligament tear will leave any athlete on the sidelines for an extended stay. While the science is still out on whether you can truly prevent an ACL, MCL, PCL, or meniscal injury, there are some steps you can take to limit the risk. If you play football, basketball, or another sport that requires sharp, lateral movement, you are at a much greater risk for this type of injury. One thing that increases risk is wearing cleats, as they plant your leg more firmly on the ground. As more stadiums switch to artificial turfs, deep-spiked cleats are becoming less necessary. If you do feel the need to wear cleats, though, shorter spikes are better. Stretching and strengthening can also aid in injury prevention. Before practices or games, stretch and warm up to increase blood circulation. Strengthening muscles surrounding the knee, especially those in the thigh, will put less stress on your ligaments. Squats and lunges are a great way to safely add some strength and flexibility.
Many ACL tears occur when an athlete lands after a jump. Safe jumping technique, with your knees directly over your feet, will go a long way in limiting these types of injuries. You can ask a physical therapist for exercises that will promote safe jumping habits, providing you with strong muscle memory. Some injuries are just an unavoidable case of bad luck. But with proper, science-based training, athletes can decrease their risk of blowing out a knee ligament.
Wisdom FROM HARRY
RECIPE: SAUSAGE AND BARLEY SOUP
The Best Medicine
I’ve heard some humans say that laughter is the best medicine. Well, I think laughter is a really good thing that humans do. I know I feel better when my owners, Michelle and Al, are laughing, which they seem to do a lot. But I want to put in a few words for us dogs. I’ve also heard it said, and I agree wholeheartedly, that dogs are the best exercise equipment a human can have. At first I was taken aback by the statement, not thinking of myself as just a piece of equipment. But then I realized us dogs require getting out and walking, sniffing around, and taking care of business. Who helps us with our dog stuff? Humans! So, in return, we motivate them to get out and walk with us. It’s good for them, and it’s good for us. We’re happy and they’re happy. They are rewarded with a pleasant way to exercise with our companionship, and we’re rewarded with the same thing. Plus, we grow to trust that they care for us, and that’s huge for us. So, my point is this: We take care of each other with purpose, and that leads to joy and better health. I think that’s a great way to live. From a dog’s perspective, somebody needs to help cats with that. Harry
It’s a great time of year to warm up with a cup of soup, and this comforting, guilt-free dish comes together in a flash.
1 (14½-ounce) can Italian-style stewed tomatoes, undrained and chopped
6 ounces turkey breakfast sausage
2½ cups frozen bell pepper stir-fry
¼ cup uncooked quick-cooking barley
2 cups water
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh baby spinach
1. Heat a large saucepan over medium- high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add sausage; cook 3 minutes or until browned. Remove from heat. 2. While sausage cooks, place stir-fry and 2 cups water in a blender; process until smooth.
3. Add stir-fry puree, tomatoes, and barley to sausage in pan. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat;
cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in spinach; cook 1 minute or until spinach wilts.
Recipe courtesy of CookingLight.com.
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