By Shane Recer, DPT, CSCS, Clinic Manager at ApexNetwork Physical Therapy in Granite City, IL

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injuries are on a staggering rise in the US. From 1994 to 2013 there was a 58% increase in ACL reconstructions (ACLR). This devastating injury can cost upwards of $50,000 in surgical fees and time lost to work and academics. While there may not be a definite answer to prevent this injury; a little education can go a long way.
Prior to injury: ACL injuries can happen to anyone, competitive or not. Those most at risk appear to be young females and individuals who have already had an ACLR. Common, and well documented, risk factors include; faulty body mechanics, weak hip/leg muscles and improper dynamic movements (i.e. running, cutting, landing, etc).
Post injury: You’ve heard the dreaded “pop” after getting that last rebound and begrudgingly underwent the ACLR. Now what? Several months of therapy with a questionable return date to competitive or recreational sports and your general lifestyle.
Prior to that injury it’s possible to reduce your risk. Your therapist can evaluate and treat your musculoskeletal deficits. Apart from strengthening weak hips and legs, your therapist can also educate and train you in proper running, cutting and landing to help you reduce your ACL injury risk. A little prophylactic medicine can change your course of competition and play. Don’t hesitate to contact us at 618-709-4125 in Granite City, IL if you have any questions!
Benjaminse A, Gokeler A, Dowling AV, et al. Optimization of the anterior cruciate ligament injury prevention paradigm: novel feedback techniques to enhance motor learning and reduce injury risk. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2015; 45: 170– 182.
Wilk KE. Anterior cruciate ligament injury prevention and rehabilitation: let’s get it right. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2015; 45: 729– 730.