Preventing an ACL Injury

An ACL tear is a common enough injury among young athletes. This type of injury greatly impacts the anterior cruciate ligament located in the center of the knee. About 70% of ACL injuries happen in a non-contact situation, meaning the injuries happened without any contact against another person.

Most of the times, an ACL injury happens when a young athlete changes direction all too quickly while playing, or when landing awkwardly from a jump. The knee gives way to the sudden, unexpected pressure, causing trauma to the ACL.

Having an ACL tear can limit your child’s ability to compete at a high level; it can even be a career-ending injury. As a parent of a young athlete who leads an active lifestyle and plays sports, you can encourage them to do the following to nip an ACL injury in the bud:

Consult with a medical professional.

You can consult with a San Diego pediatric orthopedic doctor or a sports medicine specialist to identify and work on your child’s weak muscle areas. Sports medicine professionals can also establish a training program and teach your child proper form, such as learning to pivot properly to avoid getting injured.

Do a lot of stretching.

Balance between the left and right sides of the body is important in preventing sports injuries. The imbalance will cause the body’s center of gravity to shift when landing from a jump or a pivot, and could lead to the knee injury. Doing a lot of stretching exercise will improve your child’s sense of balance and flexibility.

Implement strengthening exercises when training.

Doing a lot of squats, lunges, and plyometric exercises will give your child a lot of strength in the hips and thighs. These exercises will also develop neuromuscular conditioning and decrease the risk of an ACL injury.

Get enough rest.

Check your child’s schedule. Is it full of practice sessions, games, training, and homework? Is there enough room for rest? If not, your child will easily get tired and exhausted, causing him or her to become sloppy during games and more susceptible to injuries. Make sure your child gets plenty of rest and recovery in between competitive performances.

If a knee injury is accompanied by a loud “pop,” pain, swelling, and difficulty in walking, it is best to have it checked by an orthopedic surgeon to begin treatment as soon as possible and prevent further damage.

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