Why are ACL injuries so common in sport? Every footy fan knows about the dreaded ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injury. It’s also common in netball, baseball, hockey, soccer and tennis.
So WHY are ACL injuries so common?
Here’s a quick run down of where our anatomy is failing us:
1) We’re not monkeys anymore
Our knees developed their design when we were 4 legged creatures, with 4 legs to stabilise and absorb force as we ran and jumped. Since our evolution to walking upright, the ACL has become more vulnerable, as the muscles are not able to absorb as much of the force of running and jumping, and changes in our bone structure mean the knee is a prime area for twisting forces when we change direction suddenly
2) We’re bigger and heavier
This means more weight and force going through the muscles, bones, joints and ligaments in all activities, which can cause damage during sudden changes of direction when playing sport.
3) Prevention isn’t possible
There’s no current way to make the ACL stronger through specific exercises, although focusing on muscle strength, balance and agility training may protect the ACL to some extent.
An ACL can be:
- Partially torn
- Fully torn
- ‘Avulsed’ (which means the ligament causes bone to be pulled away)
Recovery from an ACL injury
Recovery is slow, and can often result in significant time away from your favourite sport. ACL injury is a common injury in high speed sports and both contact and non-contact sports. With thorough strength, conditioning and agility training in pre-season and during the season, you will be doing the best you can to reduce risk of this significant injury. A sports physio can be closely involved in reducing risk of sports injury. A sports injury can also help with rehabilitation afterwards too.
For full assessment of your knee, or to get an agility and strength program to help reduce your injury risk, BOOK IN to see one of our sports physios today.