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Certain Athletes More Likely To Injure Their ACL

knee-pain-matthew-boesStudies show that anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries in the knee are more common among high-school age athletes. Research shows this may be due to muscle imbalance and coordination issues in developing adolescent knees. A recent study in the Journal of Athletic Training focused on ACL injuries in this group of patients and yielded the following results:

  • Girls are more likely to experience an ACL injury than boys – up to 8 times more likely. Research on this topic suggests that this may be due to hormonal differences between boys and girls, as well as differences in body structure, and different muscle firing patterns around the knee during activities such as jumping or a sudden change in direction as possible causes.
  • ACL injuries are most common in football. Football players are more likely than any other athlete to injure their ACL.
  • However, these injuries are also common in what are often thought of as “non-contact” sports – those that don’t involve tackling or other excessive impact. The second and third sport most common sports for ACL injuries were women’s soccer and basketball, respectively.

The study also showed that high school athletes far more likely to experience an ACL injury during a game than during a practice.

This particular study took place over the course of 5 years and studied more than 100 high schools, and eight different sports. During that time there were 617 ACL injuries. The high rate of ACL injuries in this age group continues to be worrisome for orthopaedic surgeons who feel the injury can, at least, be partially prevented through better warm-up and training programs that focus on developing specific muscle strength and coordination. Several areas of research have shown that employing ACL prevention programs as part of a team’s regular practice regimen can decrease the incidence of these injuries in young athletes, particularly with regard to non-contact injuries in young female athletes.

It is important that parents and athletes are aware of the risk of ACL injuries in their particular sport. Always ask your coach or athletic trainer for injury prevention tips and if you’re suffering with an ACL injury call Dr. Matthew T. Boes for more information on how we can help you.

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