Athletes live with the threat of injuring an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). If you tear this important part of your knee joint, you could be benched for the rest of the season. Due to structural aspects of leg musculature, women are more likely to deal with ACL tears than men.
ACL injuries don’t just happen to athletes, of course. But since jumping and twisting motions and sudden changes in momentum are prime causes of ACL damage, participation in sports or physical activity is often a factor.
Whether you’re an athlete or not, the team at the Center for Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine of Tomball and Kingwood, Texas, is here to help you support and protect your knee joint.
Michael Blackwell, MD, and his experienced care team can treat a damaged ACL. Just as importantly, they can advise you on the steps you can take ahead of time to protect your ACL from injuries in the first place.
Your knee joint contains four major ligaments, including the ACL. It’s one of the two cruciate ligaments that make connections between the bones of your knee joint, while still allowing a full range of motion. The ACL is located in the front area of your knee.
In order to protect your ACL, use targeted exercises to strengthen your entire knee joint and leg musculature. Exercises targeting your hamstrings, like stability ball hamstring curls or deadlifts, repeated in sets of reps, can support your ACL.
Strengthen your hamstrings, glutes, and quadriceps with lunges and squats to improve your whole leg performance, including increasing your knee joint stability.
Strengthening your core muscles can also help you support your knees during landings and athletic activity. Talk to Dr. Blackwell about the right exercise plan to help you avoid painful and time-consuming ACL injuries.
When you suddenly change direction or momentum, your knee joint ligaments have to absorb the shock. The wrong movement can over-stress your ACL, leading to damage, perhaps a serious tear.
Pay attention whenever you’re going to be making rapid direction changes or coming to a sudden stop. If you’re going to be playing contact sports, take care to guard your knees from trauma and injury. Custom orthotics and wrapping techniques may be beneficial for you.
Landings are particularly risky for your ACL. If you can practice good landing technique, you may be able to protect your ACL from damage. Work on landing evenly on both feet, with your knees bent and positioned shoulders-width apart. Your body and feet need to stay aligned throughout your landing to avoid stressing your ACL.
Over the long term, serious ACL tears can destabilize your knee completely. You’re more likely to suffer from additional tears after you’ve experienced one ACL injury already, so preventing problems in the first place is the best bet for your knees.
Dr. Blackwell can advise you further on the best strategies to support your knees and prevent ACL tears this spring. Get in touch with Dr. Blackwell at the Center for Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine today to learn more. You can book your appointment online, or give us a call now to schedule.