Simple Ways to Stop an ACL TearSEMGeeks
There’s no question that ACL injuries are dreaded by athletes. These injuries occur when a tear or sprain happens to the anterior cruciate ligament, one of the strongest bands of tissue that connects the thigh bone to the shinbone. ACL injuries typically occur during sports that involve sudden stops or changes in direction, such as basketball or soccer.
When an ACL injury occurs, most people feel a ‘popping’ sensation in the knee. Your knee may then swell and be unable to bear weight. The only way you can return to sports is by getting the proper rest and rehabilitation. Depending on the severity of the injury, you may need surgery to replace a torn ligament.
By stopping an ACL tear, you can avoid a great deal of physical trauma and time away from your sport. Below are simple ways that you can prevent an ACL injury from ruining your season.
Always Warm Up and Stretch
Before you do any type of workout or exercise, make sure that you take 10-15 minutes to stretch and warm-up. Stiff, cold muscles and ligaments are far more vulnerable to injury. Warming up before you hit the field or court helps loosen muscles, which in turn prevents ACL injuries from happening.
Exercise Year Round – Not Just During Sports Season
Even though your sport may only last a few months, make sure you’re exercising year-round. Regular exercise keeps the muscles surrounding your knees strong and flexible, reducing your risk for injuries. Knee exercises, in particular, will help make the knee more resilient. Recommended knee strengthening exercises include squats, lunges, side leg lifts and step-ups.
Focus on Balance and Your Core
Many ACL injuries happen when you make a quick change in direction. Improving balance and strengthening your knees, feet and ankles can prevent these injuries from happening. Some simple exercises you can do include standing on one leg, single-leg squats, high lunges and tree poses.
Also, don’t forget your core. Strengthening your core allows you to move your body more efficiently. It can also help control the way your body moves. The basic plank is a great exercise that strengthens the core, arms, shoulders, back, glutes and legs.
Pay Attention to How You Move
Another way to stop ACL tears is by being aware of how you move. When you’re turning, for example, bend at the knees and hips to reduce stress and provide stability. Also, make sure your movements have good alignment. Don’t just practice this when you’re playing sports – do it at the gym, too. This way, it will become a habit.
Use Proper Technique and Footwear
Make sure you follow the proper technique for your sport. Your coach, a physical therapist or a sports medicine doctor can help. Following the proper movements ensures you’re moving your body in the right direction while avoiding high-impact, damaging motions. And of course, be sure that you have properly fitting footwear for your sport.
Avoid Exercise When You’re Fatigued
When you’re feeling tired, it’s harder to maintain form and react quickly. This can put you at risk for ACL injuries. Make sure that you get enough rest before working out or playing sports. If you’re particularly tired during a workout, end it early and rest up. It’s not worth putting your body at risk of muscle fatigue or injuries.
If you’re dealing with an ACL injury, contact Jersey Rehab at one of our locations. We have a number of alternative therapies to manage your pain, help you heal faster and get you back on the field doing what you love!