ACL injuries on the rise

A recent study suggests ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injuries are on the rise and are especially prevalent in girls. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery (AAOS), the ACL is a ligament in the middle of the knee that prevents the tibia from sliding out in front of the femur and provides stability to the knee. Injuries to this ligament include different degrees of sprains and partial or complete tears. Dr. David Spence, a Le Bonheur pediatric orthopaedic surgeon with Le Bonheur and Campbell Clinic, sheds more light on this type of injury below.

Why are ACL injuries are on the rise?

The reason is multi factorial. Not only are more children and adolescents playing organized sports, but athletics is becoming more demanding, competitive and strenuous. Many children are playing year-round sports with fewer breaks and more stringent training regiments. Most of the injuries happen when athletes change direction or stop suddenly or collide with another athlete.

Why are girls more prone to this type of injury?

The AAOS suggests these injuries are more common in female athletes for a number of reasons, including “differences in physical conditioning, muscular strength, and neuromuscular control. Other suggested causes include differences in pelvis and lower extremity (leg) alignment, increased looseness in ligaments, and the effects of estrogen on ligament properties."

What can athletes do to prevent ACL injuries?

In response to the rising number of ACL injuries, many programs have been developed over the past 15 years to lower the risk of ACL injuries. Most of these programs focus on the proper neuromuscular control of the knee and include various modalities that incorporate plyometrics, balance training, and strengthening exercises.

To find out more about what is being done to prevent ACL injury in the Mid-South, please contact of of Le Bonheur's pediatric orthopedic surgeons at Campbell Clinic Orthopaedics to learn how you or your team can be enrolled in a prevention program before the next season.

sports, injury