The ACL injury is the most feared of all injuries in sport. It will sit an athlete down for 6-12 months and cause long term damage to the knee that can’t be reversed.
The ACL injury is likely the most researched of all sports injuries over the last 30 years. There are a number of risk factors that have been identified. There is no one magic bullet for preventing the ACL tear. Rather, there is an assortment of risk factors that tend to add up to a recipe for disaster.
Below is a list of risk factors that predispose athletes to an ACL rupture. This is not an all inclusive list, but a rather very good start when trying to identify who is at risk.
- Hip Strength – Glut Medius strength is imperative to controlling the lower extremity. If the Glut Med is weak and/or inactive, the knee is certain to go into valgus and internal rotation.
- Core Stability – The core is no doubt the foundation for all movement. Without a stable core, the extremities will struggle to maintain control.
- Neurological Patterning – Linking the upper and lower extremities along fascial lines and specific sling systems is paramount for controlling the entire body. Having tons of strength doesn’t do a lot of good if you can’t turn on the correct muscles in the right sequence.
- Balance/Proprioception – Teaching the body spacial awareness in any situation assists in controlling the extremities.
- Proper Cut/Pivot Techniques – Most athletes who sustain lower body injuries have never been educated on how to plant and cut appropriately. More often than not, we teach planting on the inside foot when changing direction.
- Biomechanics – Many people who tear their ACL have poor genetics which lead them to their injury. While we can’t change genetics, we can make adjustments to their training. We can also use things like foot orthotics to assist in certain situations.
- Power – Powerful athletes don’t put themselves in poor positions where they are exposed to injury. And, if they do get into suspect positions, they are able to pull themselves out of them without being hurt.
- Deceleration Mechanics – The vast majority of non-contact injuries occur during the deceleration phase of movement. This is because they haven’t been taught how to heel strike and use their gluts and hamstrings to decelerate their body under control.
- Asymmetries – Research shows that asymmetries are one of the largest indicators of future injury. Any type of asymmetry will change mechanics and loading principles and exposing them to injury.
Also, our PROvention™ training system is designed to address the factors listed above. There are several key components that make the PROvention™ system extremely effective. Click on each component to learn more: