As ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tears and surgeries are on the rise, mainly among teenagers, high schools and other sports programs are beginning to respond by implementing injury prevention programs. Recently CBS News focused on the rise of anterior cruciate ligament tears and found that there was a 2.5% increase in ACL tears per year between 1994 and 2013, mainly among girls in their early to late teens.
Recovery from an ACL tear is more than just a handful of weeks out of your sport(s) of choice, in most cases it requires missing the entire season of several sports to come out strong enough to continue competing. For the most competitive athletes this could mean missing your peak playing years, missing chances at college scholarships, or just missing out on sports you love for an entire year. Teenagers aren't the only ones who suffer from an ACL injury, adults can tear their ACL from a competitive game of squash, basketball during their lunch hour, or even from walking down the stairs wrong. What type A, New York professional has time for a 9 month healing process??
What is there to do but wait for the fateful day when your ligament pops and your sports career is no more?? The answer is a lot! ACL tears, unfortunately, are usually the result of weak muscles and poor body mechanics. So, can injury prevention help stave off possible ACL injuries? Yes! That's something we have an expert opinion on here at Sloane Stecker Physical Therapy.
Coming to physical therapy BEFORE you have an ALC injury?? Sounds crazy, doesn't it? However, when you think about the benefits it starts to make a lot of sense. First of all, injury prevention is only going to make you better, faster, stronger, and more competitive in your sport of choice. It's like personal training, but with an expert not only in physical fitness but also in body mechanics. Recommended by powerhouses like the Hospital for Special Surgeries, injury prevention programs leave you not only more agile, stronger, and much more flexible, but they also leave you with the skills to move your body correctly and safely in sports drills. This means you'll have the skills and the muscle memory to shift your weight quickly from side to side or to land properly from jumping, actions that most often lead to disastrous ACL tears in athletes.
The answer seems clear and even fun. If you're a serious athlete-- whether you're a teenager, a college athlete, or a weekend warrior who can't miss their lunch hour ball game-- injury prevention training is just a smart idea. Take your sport to the next level with personal training that also provides you with the skills to manuever around the field (or court) of your choice without putting your knee at risk. The worst thing that could happen is you'd improve in your sport of choice and never know the searing and absolute pain of an ACL tear, surgery, and recover.