Elite Facilities. Superior Care

ACL Part 1 – Its Role & Risk Identification

Doing your knee, otherwise known as rupturing your Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), is a knee injury everyone knows of or has seen footage of at some point. For example, in the recently completed 2015 AFL season, we saw one of the all time greats, Chris Judd, sustain a career ending ACL injury.

The ACL is a ligament located deep in the knee that helps prevent the tibia (shin bone) from moving too far forward from its connection with the femur (thigh bone). This type of injury normally occurs when decelerating at speed, landing or changing direction.

Over time, a great deal of research has been completed that has provided us with an understanding of the risk factors, both external and internal. External risk factors include the sporting environment (soft or hard ground), and footwear (metals vs molds). When we consider the intrinsic risk factors, we quickly learn that research is indicating that being a female places you at up to six times higher risk of this injury. Other risk factors include genetics, as your risk increases two fold if an immediate family member has had a previous ACL injury. However, the greatest and best known risk factor is a previous ACL tear. This increases your risk by 15 times, as 25% of people with previous ACL injuries go on to rupture their ACL again. Unfortunately, all the intrinsic factors mentioned here are non-modifiable.

However, there is one main risk factor that we do have control over, and in fact this is the one with the most supportive empirical evidence behind it - neuromuscular control. Neuromuscular control includes strength, balance, proprioception and ones body control, which you may know of as core control.

Neuromuscular control programs have been shown in large groups to reduce the risk of ACL injury by up to 88%, and this is with a generic, non-individualised training program. Furthermore, research has revealed that certain movement patterns have been shown to be of a predictive and higher risk nature. At Recover Sports Medicine, our state of the art facility is able to analyse your movement patterns utilising the only 3D Biomotion Centre of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. This allows our staff to dig deeper than the naked eye to quantify and appropriately identify high-risk movement patterns. From this point, our elite physiotherapists will then be able to provide a specific prevention program for you, aimed at not only decreasing your risk of injury, but also improving your performance.

As with any injury, it’s an unfortunate concoction of many risk factors coming together at one unlucky time. We may not be able to change your non-modifiable risk factors mentioned above, but we can help identify if you’re at high risk, address your movement patterns and keep you active, because your knees depend on it.

Michael Giakoumis
Recover Sports Medicine

If you have any questions regarding this post, or wish to book in to see our Physiotherapists, please call us on 1300 858 774 or email contact@recoversportsmed.com.au


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