ACL injuries are devastating for athletes at any level. According to the Texas Sports Medicine Group between 250,000 and 300,000 ACL injuries occur annually and cost billions of dollars for rehabilitation. With a recent spike in the number of ACL injuries taking place in youth sports, parents are taking notice and more concerned than ever as to how to keep their children safe and out of the hospital.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a miracle cure for ACL injuries, but there are steps you can take to help prevent being sidelined from this devastating injury. Bill Bue, President of Topical Gear who boasts more than 32 years in the sports rehab industry, shared some of the best preventative measures to avoid ACL injuries.
1. ACL Injury Prevention Training
Results have shown a significant reduction in the number of ACL injuries after teams have incorporated ACL injury prevention programs into their preseason training. The Sportsmetrics program is one such program designed to decrease serious knee ligament injuries in female athletes. ACL injury prevent programs also help athletes build a solid foundation of strength, coordination and overall physical conditioning.
2. Strength and Agility Training
Strengthening your knees’ primary support system, the thighs and hips, will help stabilize the knee when you’re put in ACL prone situations. Some of the best exercises to regularly preform include: squats, lunges, and cone drills that require change in direction. The key is maintaining proper form to train your body to follow the same technique in play.
Knowing the limits of your body is crucial in avoiding any type of injury. Most ACL injuries occur at the time when an athlete has been pushed pass their limits – that’s when they use incorrect form from exhaustion. Slowly building up your stamina and knowing when to take a break can save you from months of pain.
4. Using Protective Gear
Staying up to date on the different products that can help combat ACL injuries can potentially prevent being sidelined and going through months of rehab. The ACL Tube is an example of a product specifically designed for the female athlete to help reduce the chance of an ACL tear. The lightweight tube applies topical pressure to muscles that support the knee, training the muscles to fire. In exchange, this muscle stimulation prevents fatigue, which is when most ACL tears occur.
5. Cooling Down
A majority of athletes know warming up is part of the standard protocol, but they don’t’ realize that cooling down is equally as important. Spending five to ten minutes slowing down your heart rate will help remove the lactic acid that has built up in your muscles, allowing them to quickly recover.
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