With the start of school upon us many kids will be returning to what they love to do, participating in high school sports. Unfortunately what accompanies that love for sports is an increased risk of injury. Knee injuries have become an epidemic is adolescent athletes with the number of injuries increasing year by year. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), which is the primary stabilizer of the knee, is the most commonly injured ligament of the knee. There are approximately 100,000 ACL injuries every year with the majority of these injuries occurring in female athletes. Female athletes are more prone to ACL injuries than male athletes due to many factors including hormonal balances, structural variations, and biomechanic kinematics. Due to the consistent rise in ACL injuries over the last few years, the role of preseason training as a prevention strategy for ACL injury becomes extremely important.
Preseason as well as mid season sport specific training can play a huge role in reducing the occurrence of common knee injuries. Regarding ACL injury prevention, it is important to build up strength of hip, hamstring, and glut muscles. Building up lateral hip strength will prevent the leg from turning in, which puts a high amount of stress on the ACL. At the end of this article are some pictures of common exercises that achieve the goal of building strength and reducing strain on the ACL. If you or someone you know has experienced pain or previous injury with sport activity, the professionals here at Spine & Sport have the expertise required to decrease your chance of re-injury and get you back on the field pain free.
Walking Lunge with Twist
Stand with your feet slightly apart. Take a step forward with your right foot and bend both knees until the back knee almost touches the floor. Twist your torso to the left without moving your lower body, and then rotate back to the center. Push off with your right foot to return to the starting position. Alternate your feet, and repeat the exercise.
Sidelying Leg Raise
While lying on your side, slowly raise up your top leg to the side. Keep your knee straight and maintain your toes pointed forward the entire time. The bottom leg can be bent to stabilize your body.
While standing with feet shoulder width apart, bend your knees and lower your body towards the floor. Your body weight should mostly be directed through the heels of your feet. Return to a standing position. Knees should bend in line with the 2nd toe and not pass the front of the foot.
Single Leg Box Squat
Stand in front of a plyobox or chair. Standing on one foot lower yourself down and back to touch the box. Return to standing by driving the stance leg down with the upper thigh and buttocks. Stance leg should not rotated inward, nor the foot turn outward.