Can ACL Knee Injuries be Prevented in Female Athletes

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) knee injuries occur 4-6 times more frequent in female athletes than in male athletes playing the same sports. It is believed that the difference in neuromuscular control, or the way our muscles contract and react, is one of four primary factors contributing to why women are more susceptible to knee injuries than men.

Other discrepancies are anatomical (women are structurally different with a wider pelvis creating “knock” knee), hormonal (women’s hormonal makeup affects the integrity of the ligament, making it more lax), and bio-mechanical (the positions our knees get in during cutting and jumping). Seventy percent of all ACL injuries occur without contact. Most ACL injuries occur at foot strike with the knee close to full extension during quick deceleration or landing maneuvers.

Injury to the ACL is expensive, often requiring surgical repair and months of rehabilitation. Additional costs include; loss of sport participation, loss of scholarship funding, long term-disability and a significant increased risk in developing osteoarthritis. The athlete pays a high physical, mental, emotional and economic price for this severe injury.

A review study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine (August 2013), demonstrated that specialized stretching, strengthening, agility and jumping exercises could lower the overall ACL injury rate among female athletes by as much as 50%.

In ACL prevention programs there is special attention placed on landing technique and mechanics. When landing, it is essential to land on the balls of the feet and then slowly roll back to the heels. Knee placement and control is important during landing. The knees must stay on line with the ankles without “knocking in” or “caving in” (valgus).

To copy the complete Mishock Physical Therapy Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and Lower Extremity Injury Prevention Routine, visit our website at mishockpt.com or on facebook at www.facebook.com/mishockphysicaltherapy

This recent evidence indicates that the appropriate exercise program and patient education can minimize the risk of the debilitating effects of ACL knee injuries.

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If pain is limiting you from doing the activities you enjoy, give Mishock Physical Therapy a call for a Free Phone Consultation at (610)327-2600. Also, visit our website to read more physical therapy related articles, learn more about our treatment philosophy, our physical therapy staff, and our 6 convenient locations in Gilbertsville, Skippack, Barto, Phoenixville, Limerick, and Stow at www.mishockpt.com. Our mission is to exceed the expectations of our patients by providing excellence in care and service. We are here to serve you!

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Dr. Mishock is one of only a few clinicians with doctorate level degrees in both physical therapy and chiropractic in the state of Pennsylvania.