ACL Tear Prevention & Recovery Tips

For football fans, Monday mornings bring mixed emotions. Sadness that Sunday is over, joy that your team won, anger that your team lost, or complete devastation that your star player is out with a season ending injury, such as an ACL tear. This past Sunday was quite the doozy for NFL fans and fantasy footballers alike, with Saquon Barkley leaving the game with an injury, now known to be a torn ACL. Putting the game aside, why is it that ACL tears seem to be more common? Well, that answer is somewhat simple. An awkward movement or odd rotation can easily cause a tear since there is little support around the joint. In these games, bit hits or strange landings make up the recipe for disaster causing a tear. So, let’s dive into a few tips on how to prevent a torn ACL and also how to recover after surgery.

How Can You Prevent a Torn ACL?

The best prevention for ACL tears is a good pre-season screening exam. At Advanced, we perform pre-season screening exams for athletes of all levels. In this exam, we test jumping and landing skills and cutting techniques as well as quad girth. If we look at the research regarding predisposition to ACL tears, we see that females tend to account for the greater percentage of ACL tears in sport. The reason for this is that females jump and land more with quadriceps as opposed to males who use more glutes and hamstrings. These faulty mechanics enhance the forward tibial translation putting tension on the ACL. So, from our evaluations, we learn from that technique can be evaluated and corrected to prevent the tear.  

Tips for Recovering After Surgery

If you suffered a tear and received surgery, recovery begins with a good physical therapy regimen. On the first few visits, your therapist will be monitoring your incision and the proper healing of the surgical region. Then, as you progress, you will work on good quad facilitation and range of motion in the early stages of care. Your recovery will progress to correct improper compensations and build strength, mobility and proper functional patterns along the lower body kinetic chain. Finally, you will begin the process of sport specific training as you look forward to getting back on the field or court. Remember to take it slow!

It’s Time For Your Evaluation

So NFL fans, we know this may not make you feel better about your team’s season, but it should help explain why it’s so important to protect these somewhat vulnerable ligaments. We help athletes at all levels – from professionals to weekend warriors. If you want to improve your performance and prevent injury, make an appointment with Advanced Sports Medicine & Physical Therapy today by calling 973-616-4555.