A soccer player dribbles down the field and abruptly cuts right around a defender, only to fall to the ground clutching her knee. She reports a sudden popping sound and her knee “giving out.” She heads over to ORTHOKnox Urgent Care, and the doctors diagnose her injury as an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear. ACL tears are unfortunately common, especially among young athletes. The team at ORTHOKnox prepares the soccer player for ACL reconstruction, and she works with the on-site physical therapy team to heal and build up strength so she can return to the field again.
While ORTHOKnox’s sports medicine team is available to help you heal after an ACL tear, we would rather our patients never sustain an injury in the first place. We have compiled a list of prevention tips below to help you stay active on the field!
Top ACL Tears Prevention Tips
- Wear proper footwear
One of the best ways to prevent an ACL tear happens before you even step on the field. Shoes that do not fit well can impair balance and increase the likelihood of twisting your knee. Choose the right size shoes and break them in before a serious game to ensure they support you as you play.
Warming up can help loosen your muscles and ligaments before a game or practice. Warm-ups focusing on leg muscles and ankle rotation muscles can prevent or reduce the severity of an injury (sprain vs. tear).
Like warming up, stretching can prep your body for exercise. Dynamic stretching allows you to be more flexible and move more freely, so you aren’t fighting against tight muscles when trying to maneuver around the field.
- Strength training
- Your ACL runs diagonally across the center of your knee as one of the four ligaments that stabilize and connect the femur and tibia. Your ACL provides you with much-needed stability, and strengthening the muscles in the quadriceps and thighs can provide support for your ACL. Exercises such as squats and lunges are great for your legs. Core exercises are also a good idea to improve your overall form.
- Balance and technique
Like almost everything else, you can greatly improve your balance and technique with practice. Practicing quick changes in direction, sudden stops, avoiding collisions, and even falling correctly, can improve your reaction time and agility and prevent unnatural twists and pivots during the heat of the game. Practicing jumping and landing safely on both feet with bent knees can teach your muscles not to let your knees collapse inward, which can be damaging.
As with all good things, play your sport with moderation. Don’t continue playing if you feel fatigued or have any pain. Most injuries occur when athletes are tired and relax their form, which invites injuries. Make sure to rest and take breaks so you can complete each game free of injuries.
Getting Treatment for ACL Tear in Knoxville and Athens, TN
While we hope you take steps to reduce your risks of an ACL tear, ORTHOKnox is available to help you recover if you do get injured. If you sustain an ACL tear, then you can go to the ORTHOKnox orthopaedic clinics in Knoxville, Tennessee, or Athens, Tennessee, to discuss your treatment options. ORTHOKnox has a skilled team to perform reconstruction surgery and a group of on-site physical therapists to support you before and after your surgery as well.
With its on-site physical therapists, board-certified surgeons, and Urgent Orthopaedic Care that is available without an appointment, ORTHOKnox has got you covered. For more information about how ORTHOKnox can treat your ACL tear, call (865) 251-3030, or fill out our easy-to-use online appointment request form. We look forward to hearing from you!