Did you know that females are 5 times more likely to sustain a knee injury than males?
Statistically, 30,000 high school and college-age females will injury their knee this year with a majority of these injuries coming from non-contact injuries.
What is an ACL and how is it injured?
Cruciate ligaments are found inside your knee joint. The ligaments form an X over your knee with the ACL or anterior cruciate ligament in front and the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) in back. Together they control the front and back motion of your knee.
The anterior cruciate ligament runs diagonally in the middle of the knee. It prevents the tibia from sliding out in front of the femur and provides rotational stability to the knee.
The PCL keeps the shinbone from moving backward too far. It is stronger than the ACL and is injured far less often.
Most of the non-contact injuries resulting in an ACL tear are from landing from a jump or pivoting when running which can occur in any sport but is mostly seen in basketball, soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, and volleyball.
What if I Already Have Sustained An ACL Injury?
An article in The New York Times, entitled “After a Knee Injury, Be Wary When Returning to Sports” reviews multiple studies and implied that returning to sport after an ACL injury, whether passing the testing to return to play or not, had a significant chance of another knee injury: “the athletes who had passed testing were 235 percent more likely than those who had failed to tear the ACL in their uninjured leg within the next year or so of competing.”
It could be because those doing the testing to return to their sport perhaps returned too early, did not complete an appropriate amount of physical therapy or orthopedic rehabilitation, or perhaps overcompensated for their injured leg thus injuring the other leg.
The best bet is to prevent an ACL injury in the first place.
How Can I Prevent An ACL Injury?
Athletes, especially female athletes, should be trained and exercised to build up the muscles around the cruciate ligaments. They should also train repeatedly on the proper way to land a jump, complete a safe stop and turn, and be educated on how the injury happens because it can be a sport-ending injury.
The Cincinnati Sports Medicine Research and Education Foundation developed the Sportsmetrics program specifically to reduce the occurrence of non-contact ACL injuries.
Sportsmetrics™ is the first and largest ACL injury prevention program SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN to decrease serious knee ligament injuries in female athletes. Developed by Dr. Frank Noyes and a team of athletic trainers, physical therapists and researchers, Sportsmetrics™ uses jumping drills to teach the athlete to preposition the entire body safely when jumping landing. Visit https://sportsmetrics.org/ for more information.
How does the Sportsmetric Program Work?
A certified Sportsmetrics provider will use video analysis software to help determine an athlete’s baseline performance in strength, flexibility, jumping, and agility
The provider works with the athlete for 16 sessions, 4x/week for 4 weeks in one-hour sessions
Repeated training on all aspects of strength, flexibility, jumping, and agility
Follow-up testing is done using the video analysis software to compare the baseline to post-program measurements
1 on 1 discussion will then take place to determine the athlete’s individual needs going forward.
Finding a Sportsmetric Certified Instructor
Aquacare Physical Therapy at Fitness Forum in Annapolis, Maryland has a certified Sportsmetric Certificed Instructor, Gen Good-Malloy, PT, DPT. Dr. Good-Malloy has had experience with knee injuries not only as a treating clinician but also as a high school (basketball, volleyball, lacrosse) and collegiate athlete (basketball) who sustained a season-ending knee injury. However, due to rehabilitation and training, the injury was not career ending.
She has also coached basketball at all levels including collegiate. Dr. Good-Malloy is now passionate about the prevention and rehabilitation of female athletes. In fact, her ACL injury sparked her interest in the physical therapy field.
Aquacare Physical Therapy locations in Maryland and Delaware feature several physical therapists who have certifications in sports medicine, orthopedic rehabilitation, and sports-related training programs. Call the location nearest to you to learn more and schedule a free evaluation.
If you are an athlete, have a daughter who participates in sports, a coach, an athletic trainer, athletic director, or an orthopedic health care provider, consider giving us a call to discuss how we can help you avoid a season or possibly career ending knee injury.
Mandelbaum BR, Silvers HJ, Watanabe D, et al: Effectiveness of a neuromuscular and proprioceptive training program in preventing the incidence of ACL injuries in female athletes: Two-year follow up. Am J Sports Med 2005;33:1003-1010.