Can ACL tears be prevented?

The answer is yes.  I had the opportunity to listen to Carolyn Emory PT, PhD of University of Calgary speak at the Canadian Physiotherapy Congress in Whistler.  Her area of expertise is paediatric sport injuries, particularly, injury prevention.  Since ACL injuries are so common in soccer (an average of 25% of 15 year old female soccer players per season), it is an area that has been extensively studied. Researchers have identified key risk factors and, have been able to demonstrate success in preventing injuries, by giving exercises to address them.

There are several different programs available all of which are very similar. The one designed by The University of Calgary Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre was designed to include as a 15 minute warm up in soccer. It includes components of functional running drills, dynamic flexibility, agility, strength, balance, and also incorporates wobble board drills which can be done at home or on the pitch.

Some of the exercises would be too advanced for some of the clients that I have worked with. The emphasis is on good motor patterns, so if there is any problem with performance then it is advisable to see a physiotherapist for evaluation and modification of the exercises. I recommend that the strength and agility exercises be performed on non-game and practice days up to three sets of 15 to avoid fatigue-related injuries.  Supplementary exercises, particularly for strengthening and flexibility may be important in some.  If in doubt, call or email me at West 4th Physiotherapy to see if screening of strength, agility, and flexibility could help to prevent injury in you or your child.

Videos of the University of Calgary soccer injury prevention drills are available at http://www.siprc.ca/research/soccervideos.html

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One Response to Can ACL tears be prevented?

  1. Great information. Most people confuse the Medial ligament with the Anterior one, like they confuse osteoarthritis with other conditions.
    Love the website, and you seem like a good information provider. I may direct my visitors to your articles in the future. Would love to see more information regarding osteoarthritis of the knee, which many do not get precise data regarding the subject.

    Regards,
    John.

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