So we talked about how ACL injuries occur in part one. Now lets talk about preventing it
There are a few things that you can do to prevent an ACL injury occuring, including strengthening you lower limb, having a warm up geared towards ACL injury prevention, training how to change direction correctly, and working on your landing mechanics.
Strength- There’s an old adage in physiotherapy- ‘You can’t go wrong by getting strong’. And that applies here as well. Working on your quads, glutes, hamstring and calf can help reduce the effects of a potentially ACL rupturing incident. At the very least, if you do have an ACL rupture, having strong muscles will mean you have a better chance at having a great rehab and being back on the field faster. Check out our facebook post to get you started on some glute exercises!
Warm-up– We wrote earlier on the benefits of a good warm-up for ACL prevention, and the FIFA 11+ is the best one to do. You can read more about it here. It comprises of a mixture of balance, running, change of direction, and jumping/hopping/landing exercises to do pre-game or training. Regardless of whether you want to follow this program or not, any good warm-up should compromise of these components.
Change of Direction mechanics – We talked last time of the mechanics of how the ACL ruptures in change of direction; hip moving away from the body (abduction), knee straight, foot planted, while twisting. Correct mechanics is the polar opposite. Knee flexed, foot planted underneath the body, with the player able to decelerate quickly.
By getting a partner to record how you can change direction, you can practice pivoting correctly.
Landing mechanics – Landing poorly after contact is another way you can rupture your ACL. Practicing your landing mechanics, particularly after contact can help you land safer. The below video demonstrates a great way you can practice this with a partner
So those are the four things that you can do to prevent an ACL rupture. But even with the best preparation, it can still occur.
Next time, we will talk about what your options are, after an ACL rupture.