Tips to Prevent Common Knee Injuries

Did you know that female athletes are eight times more likely than men to suffer a tear to their anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)?

knee injuries in womenAccording to the American Journal of Sports Medicine, 200,000 ACL injuries occur every year. In total sports injuries annually, approximately 15 percent involve the knee, and 50 percent of those injuries result in a visit to the hospital or doctor.

Not only is it more common, but the cost of an ACL rupture can be costly for surgery and rehabilitation.  This does not include the loss of participating in an entire season of sports, loss of scholarship funding, chances of long-term disability such as chronic knee instability, secondary damage to other knee tendons and a 10-times greater risk of degenerative osteoarthritis of the knee, a condition often leading to a knee replacement later in life.

So what can teens, and specifically girls and women, do to prevent an ACL knee injury?

It may be as simple as implementing an enhanced warm-up routine. One of many programs aimed to prevent ACL injuries is called Prevent Injury and Enhance Performance (PEP) Program, developed by Santa Monica Sports Medicine Foundation, in California. The main focus of the injury-prevention program is to include warm-up drills like bounding runs, which increases flexibility and strength in the hip, and lateral diagonal runs, to learn to pivot off one’s leg without having the knee collapse inward. Commonly, most warm-ups routine only consist of running a few laps and maybe some stretching. (We found a video of bounding runs on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L79Pj2B9sLw)

Research has shown that sports teams implementing the injury-prevention programs have seen a 50% reduction in the risk of ACL injuries. To see what kind of programs can help you and your children prevent sports injuries, click here to download a copy of the PEP program. 

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