Young, female athletes are 2-8 times more likely to sustain an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury than their male counterparts. Should an injury occur, it can take six to twelve months to rehabilitate and fully return to their desired sport. But what most people don’t know, is that many ACL tears are caused by non-contact injuries which can often be prevented with pre-season training and improved movement strategies.
How Does an ACL Injury Occur, and What is It?
The ACL is a stabilizing ligament within the knee joint that helps to resist excessive movements of the tibia. If pushed too far by hyperextension, rapid change in direction, poor landing or deceleration mechanics the ACL may tear or sprain. These injuries often occur in sports that require sudden changes of direction, stops, jumps and landings including soccer, basketball and volleyball.
Why Female Athletes?
The risk of ACL injuries in young, female athletes is greater compared to their male peers due to several factors. Unfortunately, some factors like anatomical structure, bone density, hormones and ligament laxity can’t be changed. However, other factors, such as neuromuscular coordination, core and glute strength, knee control and biomechanics, CAN be addressed and improved!
The Potential Cost of Money and Time of an ACL Injury
Often times, ACL injuries require surgery. Surgical costs can range anywhere from $800 up to $20,000-$30,000. Costs will vary significantly depending on your insurance coverage. Physical therapy is necessary following surgery, further increasing the total cost of medical care. Most athletes are not returning to their desired sport until 9-12 months after their injury.
Lastly, early knee injuries increase the risk of osteoarthritis later in life. If not properly managed adults may experience knee pain which could lead to more time away from activities, physical therapy or the possibility of a total joint replacement.
Preventing an ACL Injury:
Proper assessment and risk identification can help prevent an injury before it happens. On September 28th ProActive Physical Therapy will host a complimentary ACL Risk Reduction Screening to identify female athletes who might be at greater risk of injury and provide them with personalized preventative training regimens before their competitive season begins!
Participants will undergo a comprehensive static and dynamic functional movement analysis. This will identify their degree of mobility, strength, balance, coordination as well as jumping, landing, acceleration and deceleration mechanics. Participants will be deemed low, moderate or high risk based on how they score. If they are deemed a high-risk athlete, our physical therapists and performance training specialists will collaborate to prescribe a training regimen to address the movement faults and reduce the chances of an ACL injury. This will include hour long sessions two times per week for six weeks designed to enhance their pre-season training, all at no cost to you.
ACL injuries can both tax in time and funds, so if you or someone you know, may benefit from this training, please contact ProActive Physical Therapy - Tumwater to reserve your individual testing time.
By: Levi Kowalski
Levi Kowalski is a local Tumwater Freelance Writer with a love for storytelling. He specializes in marketing and healthcare writing but loves people, their businesses and the stories behind them most of all.