ACL Injuries and Prevention

By: Alanna Pokorski, PT

 

Joe Flacco from the Baltimore Ravens suffered a season-ending injury this past Sunday with an ACL tear. His next steps will likely be surgery and then six months of intensive rehabilitation in the hopes to return to the NFL.

 

In the United States each year, 200,000 ACL injuries are reported, making ACL injuries one of the most common athletic injuries among athletes. Athletes from the high school level to the pros are impacted by devastating ACL injuries.

 

About ACLs:

 

  • Two-thirds of ACL tears are NON-CONTACT injuries. Most ACL injuries occur when an athlete pivots or lands from a jump, not direct collisions.

 

  • High school females are at the highest risk for ACL injury. WHY? Teenaged females are biomechanically structured with muscle imbalances including wider, weaker hips and hormonal fluctuations that make ligaments looser.

 

  • Between 8 and 50% of athletes do NOT return to their sport after ACL reconstruction. The rehabilitation process is lengthy and requires skilled physical therapists along with mental preparedness to return to the sport.

 

 

Proper training and ACL risk reduction programs are key.

 

To help prevent or avoid such a devastating injury, it is crucial that proper form with squat mechanics, jump training, plyometrics, and strengthening are the focus of a training program.

 

At SportsPT of NY, we have SportsmetricsTMcertified clinicians in Rochester and Saratoga who train athletes in specific ACL risk reduction programs. For more information on ACL risk reduction, contact us at info@sptny.com.

 

 

 

Off-Season Training Tips

By: Julie Randall, PT, MBA, and Megan James, PT, DPT

Now that marathon and triathlon season is over in the Northeast, the off-season is the perfect opportunity to focus on recovery and setting the stage for next season. Here are some tips to consider during the off-season so you can accomplish your goals and set personal bests next year.

1. Incorporate active rest: Your muscles and joints have worked hard the past few months – treat them to some structured cross-training, such as yoga, Pilates, boot camp, or hiking!

2. Work on your weak spots: Most athletes who get injured are lacking good core and glute strength, endurance, and control. 

3. Focus on flexibility: Stretching your muscles and keeping your joints loose will help ensure they remain healthy in your downtime.

4. Fix your form: Research supports the use of gait training to modify running mechanics and decrease risk of injury. Ask your PT to analyze your form – whether this is running, cycling, or swimming, there are likely some changes that will help to improve your efficiency and performance while decreasing your risk of injury.

5. Make it mental: Your brain has worked hard to maintain focus all season – change your environment, exercise with friends instead of by yourself, or try exercising during a different time of day. Once you’re feeling refreshed, plan out a race schedule and set your goals. Write them down to hold yourself accountable!

6. Be cautious and careful: A proper warm-up improves flexibility and blood flow, which is especially important during cold-weather exercise. Be aware of snow-covered, wet, and slippery surfaces. Ensure your shoes have proper traction to reduce the likelihood of slips and falls.

Following these tips could help you push further and improve next season. And staying active during the winter months can be a great way to avoid cabin fever. So be sure to keep moving!