Torn ACLs require surgery and up to a year for recovery. They are especially common in sports that involve jumping, pivoting and changing directions.
Studies have found that training programs that focus on increasing strength (quads, hamstrings and core), improving balance and proprioception can decrease the risk of knee injuries in athletes. This includes a proper warm-up and understanding the biomechanics of the sport.Plyometric TrainingPlyometric training is a great tool to help clients increase power and strength. However, it is important to remember that plyometric exercises are high impact and should only be performed under the supervision of a trained professional. When performing plyometric exercises, start with small sets and work up to larger sets. This will help your body to adapt to the demands and prevent injury.The goal of plyometric training is to increase the speed at which you move and the amount of force you can produce. It is a great way to develop explosive strength and improve jumping abilities. It also helps to strengthen your legs and core muscles, which will improve your balance and stability.A recent meta-analysis of cluster randomised trials found that injury prevention programs that include plyometrics significantly reduce the risk of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries in sport. However, more research is needed to determine the best methods of including plyometrics in injury prevention programs.A four-stage plyometric program has been developed to serve as a guideline for the rehabilitation of ACL reconstruction patients and their return to sport.8 This program is based on progression of the demand of each exercise and capacity to tolerate them, starting with Stage 1 in the mid-stage of rehabilitation and progressing through the late-stage and returning to sport training (RTS) training.Agility Skill ExercisesAgility is a combination of quickness and balance that allows you to accelerate and change direction rapidly. While a number of factors influence agility, including physical coordination, power, strength and speed, regular training can increase your agility.To improve your agility, practice drills that require you to move quickly and stay on your feet. Try side shuffles, karaoke steps and jumping jacks to strengthen the muscles that are essential for agility. You can also add plyometric exercises to your workout, such as jumping jacks and burpees. These workouts will increase your power and explosiveness, which can help enhance agility.There are many sports that require agility, such as basketball, football and soccer. Whether you are a high school athlete or a professional player, agility drills can improve your foot speed and specific sport skills.One of the most popular agility drills is the 3 cone drill. To perform this exercise, set up a line of cones 25 yards apart from each other. Begin by running from the first cone to the other, completing this sequence up to 8 times. To increase the difficulty, you can add forward and backward runs to your circuit. Another advanced agility training exercise is the lateral single leg hop. This drill will build your lateral power and coordination, so it should be performed after a thorough warm up.Core Stabilization ExercisesWhen you engage your core muscles, they create stability and provide a foundation for more demanding strength exercises. An unstable core causes forces to be transferred improperly during exercise and in daily life activities. This results in improper movement patterns that cause injuries. In addition, an unstable core can lead to poor posture and postural problems.Many sports injury prevention programs include core stabilization exercises. These are exercises that strengthen your back, hips and abdominal muscles and prevent injuries like hamstring strains. Some examples of core stability exercises are the draw-in maneuver and abdominal bracing. Athletes with low back pain who train their core often find relief from their symptoms.In fact, the McGill Big 3 PT core training is so effective at treating and preventing low back pain that it’s now included in the standard curriculum for physical therapy students. This approach focuses on teaching patients proper core training through progressive exercise and posture modifications.Despite the success of these types of exercise, there are still barriers to implementation. These barriers range from athlete resistance to the time commitment of a program to funding limitations. However, strategies to improve implementation and adherence, such as coaching education and leveraging resources to offer free programs, could help alleviate these obstacles. Additionally, introducing shorter and more flexible core injury prevention programs can help facilitate use.Strengthening Your Leg MusclesAn ACL tear can leave you sidelined for months. Fortunately, you can minimize your risk by following a well-rounded knee injury prevention program. Successful programs may differ in the specific exercises and drills used but they generally share a common focus on improving strength (especially quads, hamstrings and core), flexibility, balance and proprioception. They also emphasize jumping and landing correctly with good alignment to protect the knees.Faulty movement patterns during dynamic movements that produce excessive valgus force at the knee increase the risk of ACL injury. This can be a result of lateral displacement of the trunk, unequal limb loading and/or lack of control. These faulty movement patterns are modifiable and should be included in injury prevention programs.In addition to injury prevention exercise programs, a well-balanced diet and healthy lifestyle are important for preventing ACL injuries. A healthy diet provides the nutrients your body needs to function at its best and keep your muscles strong.Athletes who participate in a single competitive sport year-round are at greater risk for ACL injuries than those who compete in multiple sports or recreational activities, such as swimming and cycling. Cross-training can help prevent ACL injuries by providing a variety of training stimuli that strengthen different muscle groups required for pivoting, running and jumping. Perform walking lunges and squats to build leg strength.acl injury prevention