ACL or anterior cruciate ligament is one of the four major ligaments that help give the knee joint stability. These ligaments are fibrous brands that are attached to the bone to control any excessive motion of the joint. ACL injuries are very common especially in professional athletes. Athletes that have these injuries spend months doing physical therapy rendering it as a very tedious injury.
ACL is located between the bottom of the femur and is attached to the top of the tibia, or the shin. The ACL is essential for turning, starting, and stopping at a quick motion. Basketball is one sport that requires such motions.
The ACL can tear or rupture when subjected to too much stress, due to the fact that is made up of slightly elastic fibrous tissue. You can injure the ACL while playing, doing day to day activities, or in accidents that directly involves it. It has been shown that females have a greater risk of acquiring an ACL injury than men.
How to lower the risk of ACL injury
No single exercise can completely prevent ACL injury. However, you can lower the risk significantly by subjecting yourself to exercise and activities that can strengthen your lower extremities. If you are an athlete, you can start by performing training exercises that promote balance, agility, endurance, and power. Jumping is also one good move to help improve neuromuscular conditioning.
Do not forget to warm up and stretch before and after exercise. Incorporate strengthening, plyometrics, and agility drills in your daily activities to strengthen the area. If you are about to compete heavily in a sport, don’t forget to prepare and have some endurance training before the event.
You may help prevent ACL injuries if you:
- Avoid wearing shoes with cleats in contact sports.
- Avoid wearing high-heeled shoes.
- Avoid sports that involve lots of twisting and contact.
If you have already had an ACL injury, you can avoid another one by:
- Strengthening the injured knee through rehabilitation (rehab) exercises.
- Change your sports techniques to avoid motions that might stress the injured knee.
- Changing your lifestyle to avoid sports that have a high risk of injuring your knee further, such as skiing, football, soccer, or basketball.
- Wearing a knee brace during high-risk activities. But braces should be used only if rehab is also being done. Wearing a brace alone may be of little benefit and may give you a false sense of security.
Prevention is always the best cure. If you are highly active and at a position where injury is at a greater risk, don’t forget your strengthening exercises, warm ups, and stretches to help avoid an ACL injury.