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Avoiding the Risk of ACL Injuries in Young Female Athletes
Do You Know if You’re at Risk of Sustaining an ACL Injury? The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is located in the knee and can be injured or torn when it is harshly twisted in the wrong way. ACL injuries can be placed into two categories: “contact” or “non- contact.” “Contact” ACL injuries occur when there is a collision or external force applied to the athlete’s lower extremity. “Non-contact” ACL injuries occur without an external force applied to the lower extremity and are often described as occurring when the athlete plants their foot while making a change of direction. This type of ACL injury is most common in sports that require sudden stops and changes in direction, thus increasing the risk of twisting the knee the wrong way. Fortunately, physical therapy can help treat ACL injuries, and can even prevent them from occurring in the first place.
For more information on how physical therapy can help you avoid the risk of sustaining an ACL injury, contact The Training Room today. Who Is at a Higher Risk of Sustaining ACL Injuries? Many factors have been proposed to explain the phenomenon of females being 2 to 8 times more likely to suffer an ACL injury in sports. Among these factors are anatomical differences between genders, such as females having smaller ACLs, as well as smaller notches in the knee where the ACL resides. Females typically have steeper angles from their hip to their knee which gives them a more knock- kneed alignment and increases the valgus stress at the knee. There are also suggestions that hormonal differences may contribute to the injury discrepancy between genders.
In addition to these reasons, there are also biomechanical and neuromuscular differences between genders that may increase ACL injury risk for females. Female athletes have been shown to have different landing and cutting mechanics, and different muscle firing patterns compared tomales, which alter the forces at the hip and knee. While ACL injuries are more common in female athletes, it is important to note that male athletes are not at risk – especially in sports such as soccer, lacrosse, and baseball, it is important to make sure that you are practicing proper technique in order to avoid such an injury, no matter your gender. Call us today! We can help you reach your optimal physical function and help you prevent future ACL injury.
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