Lots of athletes experience the pain of ACL injuries. If you have this type of injury, you may be worried that you’ll never be the same athlete you were before. Knowing a little more about ACL injuries can help put your mind at ease and make sure you’re doing everything you can to prevent an ACL injury. It’s very important to understand this very common injury and treat it properly if it happens to you through physical therapy.
1. Preventative Training Can Reduce Risk
Preventative training and exercises, especially when done on a regular routine, can reduce the chance of ACL or other injuries by as much as 50%. Regular preventative training keeps your muscles in shape and flexible so when you’re participating in sports, you don’t overwork your muscles. Preventative training should include strength training and biofeedback training approximately 2-3 times each week. But it’s also important not to over-train, which can increase the risk of injury. Listening to your coach and physical therapist will help you develop the best preventative training regimen to reduce the risk of injury and stay healthy.
Bonus: Be Aware of the Temperature
Also, be preventative regarding the hotter times of the year like in the summer. Studies have shown that these increased temperatures in the desert of Peoria, Arizona can improve the likelihood that muscles will tighten much more often. This higher likelihood then causes more ACL complications. Make sure to be aware of this and stay loose. When in doubt, stretch it out.
2. ACL Injuries Occur in Non-contact Sports, too
Many people think injuries are more likely in contact sports like football. But the majority of ACL injuries occur in non-contact sports like soccer. Contact sports aren’t the only way that these injuries can occur. If you move the wrong way or haven’t stretched and trained properly, you’re just as likely to get hurt as if you participate in a contact sport. ACL injuries occur because of the way the body moves more than contact with the ACL itself. That’s why soccer players can get ACL injuries more easily than players in other sports.
Top 7 Sports with ACL Injuries in High School:
3. Women are at Higher Risk
Women’s bone structures are slightly different than men’s bone structures. Because of the angle of women’s pelvises, they put increased pressure on their knees when they run and participate in sports. That means women are at a higher risk for ACL injuries than men simply because of the way their bodies work. That doesn’t mean men can’t injure their ACLs, but women are more likely to experience this particular injury.
4. ACL Injuries can Have Additional Damage at the Same Time
An ACL injury is bad enough on its own, but it’s often not the only injury. Many people experience additional injuries at the same time as an ACL injury. When that happens, surgery is often recommended for treatment so additional damage can be treated at the same time. Even if the ACL injury is the only injury, a complete tear in the ACL requires surgery to repair. After that surgery takes place, it is important to schedule a physical therapy appointment and understand what that process looks like moving forward.
5. ACL Injuries can Lead to Problems Later in Life
Even if your ACL heals properly through surgery or other physical therapy treatment, people who experience ACL injuries are likely to experience problems later in life. Specifically, people with ACL injuries are at an increased risk for osteoarthritis later in life. The damage to the ACL has a long-term impact on the body. Even if the ACL heals, the repair is not as good as the original ACL, which can cause pain or other problems years down the road. This reiterates the importance and emphasis on a proper post-surgery recovery plan. These problems have to be treated so you don’t compromise your mobility and well-being.
Whether you’re trying to train properly in Peoria and prevent ACL injuries or you’ve just been hurt and want to know what to expect, knowing a few things about ACL injuries can help you know how to proceed to stay healthy and active. If you have experienced an ACL injury, physical therapy can help you recover more quickly so you can get back in the game. Contact us today at Desert Edge Physical Therapy to discuss your options to heal from your ACL injury quickly and safely.