It is ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) week here at the San Diego orthopedic surgery blog. ACL tear is a knee injury which can be devastating to an athlete. it is certainly a season ender.
A recent newsletter I published on treatment options for knee arthritis prompted several patients to ask me to comment on various types of knee injury. At the core of many questions were inquiries into how to avoid an ACL tear. As it happens, the Web is rife with generic exercises, but few resources are available for parents and athletes who want to know what to avoid on the gridiron, court, or field once the sporting action has commenced.
ACL tears occur when the ligament that stabilizes the knee is torn or ruptured; this knee injury is typically due to a sudden stop or change in direction. The knee injury is extraordinarily common in sports such as soccer, football, field hockey, gymnastics, and skiing to name a few. Women will find themselves in particular peril with this knee injury. But simply changing direction won’t do it; ACL tears arise within a particular kind of stop. Understanding its mechanics is the key:
These injuries often happen when the legs get into a position called “dynamic knee valgus.” That’s when you come to a stop or quickly change position with your knee straight and turned inward, with your foot behind. It’s a common position as players maneuver around a field or court, or in a gymnast’s routine.
Cutting inward for a basketball crossover, slaloming hard on skis, or switching fields abruptly in soccer can all lead to a torn ACL. Sometimes concomitant meniscus tears or cartilage injuries can occur. Although you don’t want to surrender a competitive edge by abandoning such maneuvers from your agility armamentarium, a little foresight into ‘prehab’ can go a long way toward helping you discover some safer ways to shift your weight and avoid devastating knee injuries.
To learn more about knee maintenance and knee surgery options in San Diego, please contact my offices today.