ACL tears are a common injury in many sports. Sports such as soccer, basketball, football, tennis – among others that require sudden stopping, cutting, or pivoting – have the highest risk. Children and high school athletes are already at a high risk of sustaining an injury if they specialize in one sport too early. Now, however, we are seeing an increase in ACL injuries for teens, says one study.
Kids Are Playing More With More Force
Even if teens play multiple sports, studies are finding that they are playing more frequently with more aggression. This is extremely damaging to the knees. Furthermore, it puts them at a higher risk of knee injuries, such as ACL tears. According to the report, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears have been steadily increasing among young children and teens over the past 20 years.
The group at the highest risk is high school girls. Rates are up for girls sustaining injuries while playing sports, not just ACL tears. One of the reasons for this is that females have decreased neuromuscular control at the hip. Lack of this control affects the landing with the knees, putting them at higher risk for knee injuries. Furthermore, there is lack of neuromuscular strength training for females. Other than neuromuscular weakness, girls are also less stable and aligned than boys. This instability puts more pressure on the legs, knees, and ankles, leading to a higher risk of injury.
What Can We Do To Minimize Sports Injuries?
Experts say to focus on flexibility and stretching, which lessens the risk of injury. Another way to decrease injuries is to strengthen weak areas.
“You try to be as prepared as you can with strengthening and making sure the biomechanics or the lower leg, specifically in girls, muscles are able to support them to the best of their ability,” says Kyle McCuskey, an athletic trainer at OSR Physical Therapy.
Conditioning and cross training properly is also important to decreasing injury. A Drexel University study says that having the right training time with the right exercises are an effective way to prevent injuries.
What Should I Do Post-Injury?
If you’ve injured your ACL, or suffered from another kind of sports injury, it’s important to seek medical attention right away. Starting physical therapy right away is the best and surest way to recover quickly and fully from a sports injury.
Physical therapists and athletic trainers will be able to focus on rehabilitation, along with flexibility and strengthening so that injury doesn’t return. They will also help in preventing further injuries from occurring both during the healing process and after.
OSR Physical Therapy has athletic trainers and licensed physical therapists that can help you recover from injuries and stay injury-free. Contact us today to set up a free initial evaluation.