Twenty years ago when I was skiing down a pristine trail, I missed a turn and fell. My bindings did not release, my skis went one way and my knee went the other. One month later, I underwent ACL reconstruction surgery.
Statistics show that it is highly likely I would have torn my opposite ACL within a few years. More recent research has shown that female athletes are 5% more likely to suffer an ACL tear due to hormonal, genetic, structural, and physical factors. Of this, the only aspect we have control over is the physical factor or decreased strength.
There are times when an ACL injury cannot be prevented, such as when a football player is hit from the side during an illegal tackle. But we can reduce our risk by making our hamstrings as strong as our quads, training ourselves to jump, hop, bound and land correctly, include a proper warm-up before any activity, and keeping ourselves flexible to allow proper movement. We need to progress gradually and to keep at it for life. ACL Injury Prevention Is Just Good Training.
Twenty years later, I have never injured my other ACL. Although I have days when my knee aches or feels like it’s rotated, I am able to do more now than ever. I credit this to my physical therapists, who taught me ways to get strong and reduce my risk. Discussing ACL injury prevention and a strength training program with one of the expert physical therapists at South County Physical Therapy, Inc. is the best way to prevent an ACL injury. Here’s hoping for some great snow and a fantastic, injury-free ski season!