There are 4 main ligaments in our knee which gives rise to the stability. The ligaments work together to prevent excessive motion to the knee joint and prevent over stretching which might lead to injuries. The most important ligament out of the 4 is the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL). However, ACL injuries are also the most common ligament injury and many teenagers have had ACL reconstruction performed on them. So what are some steps you can take to help reduce the risk of ACL injury?
Before knowing how to reduce the risk of ACL injuries, you should understand how does the ACL tear. ACL tears occur due to a sudden twisting action, causing tremendous stress on the ligaments and ultimately rupturing the ACL. This is much more common in sports such as rugby, basketball and soccer which involves constant knee twisting and sudden changes in direction where the foot is still firmly rooted in the ground while the knee twists, instantly tearing the ACL.
Leg muscle strengthening
Leg muscle strengthening exercises will help to increase leg strength and lead to a more stable knee joint. A strong knee joint can help to resist sudden movement and hold the ligaments firmly in place during sudden twisting actions, reducing the risk of ACL injuries. Some excellent leg muscle strengthening exercises include hamstring curls, walking lunges and toe heel raises.
Neuromuscular training is an excellent preventive method. It teaches the body how to obtain maximum knee stability and how the knee should move when jumping, pivoting and landing. Most injuries occur due to awkward landing on the knees, causing the ligament to twist and rupture. Scientific studies have also concluded that neuromuscular training significantly reduces the risk of ACL tears.
If you have a weak knee or feel a little instability in the knee, you should use a knee brace. A good knee brace is able to make you feel like you are not wearing one, hold the knee ligaments firmly together and offer better support to the knee as a whole. There are some knee braces that are even allowed to be worn for games. Knee braces will offer better stability and provide you with more confidence.
Sufficient rest periods in-between training and games will allow the body ample of time for reconditioning and repair of the tissues. If you overstress your body, you are depriving it of repair time and sooner or later, the tissues and ligaments will break down. To speed up recovery process, some athletes consume foods that are high in protein such as chicken breast and protein shakes.
Reducing the risk of ACL injuries is as easy as 1-2-3. You only need to make a little bit of effort to buff up the muscles and don protective and supportive gears when you are playing your favourite sport.