ACL prevention has come along way over the last 10 years. We have had some instrumental PTs in our profession doing research and providing valuable information on how to prevent ACL injuries in female athletes. There are still many topics to explore still, however, there are several key ways to prevent injury that have been proven very successful time and time again. What have I learned over the years about ACL prevention? Here are my keys to success.
1. Keep it simple, stupid. This philosophy goes along way when dealing with athletes young through old, and it’s the number one key I’ve learned over the years. What does this mean? Well, most athletes do not have time to do 20-30 minute programs to keep them healthy. There are very few athletes that will allow this much time to do even a proper warm up. Figure out what exercises give you the most bang for your buck and give an athlete no more than 3-5 exercises to do. Compliance will improve tremendously, and so will injury stats.
2. Core and Hip stability. This is a must for any ACL prevention or post rehab program. Female athletes lack stability proximally as they mature, and will greatly benefit from stability training to the core and hips. Don’t think dynamic out of the gate. Focus on static stability first to activate the internal gluteal and core muscles.
3. Dedicate time to the basics. Spend the time and effort up front to teach proper jump landing and take off techniques. Female athletes need a lot of education and re-education on how to utilize the proper quad to hamstring ratio in jumping and landing. This is another one of my must keys to success in this population for any sport that involves acceleration or deceleration.
-Angela Gordon, PT, DSc, MPT, COMT, OCS, ATC, FMS
Guest Faculty NAIOMT