At SportsMed Physical Therapy in Fair Lawn, we encourage all kinds of sports as a great way to keep in shape, build stamina, and increase muscle coordination. However, with sports often comes injury. We strive to keep patients healthy and in the game by providing information about some of the most common problems, risk factors and ways to prevent injury.
One of the most common injuries in athletics is an ACL tear. Research has demonstrated that this type of injury comes from two distinct types of risks. Direct contact injuries to the ACL to occur, but they actually only make up about 30% of ACL tears. The other 70% are made up of injuries that have to do with how a person moves their body.
Accidental injury is never fun, but in sports like football, soccer or other contact sports some risk of contact injury is expected. This article looks at some of the risk factors for the other 70% of injuries that arise from how the body moves.
In physical therapy it is important to understand how all the different parts of the body work together, and how each person's unique physical structure can impact the risks for injury. Female bodies in particular are more susceptible to ACL tears due to several factors. The width of a woman's hips in relation to the knees increases the "Q angle" as it is called, increasing the strain on the joint. Women also tend to have joints that are more mobile, or lax, than men, leading to less muscle tension to hold the knee joint in place against stress.
The last of the anatomical factors has to do with the notch where the femur meets to form the knee joint. The ACL connects the bones together as part of the joint, and attaches to the notch. A narrow notch can lead to increased risk of a tear. While this is not strictly a female issue, women also tend to have narrower bones than men.
There isn't much an athlete can do to increase their bone size or change other anatomical building blocks, but there are ways to help reduce other risk factors for a tear. One of the primary ways is to increase core muscle strength and coordination between the hip and trunk muscles in the body.
Ligaments are made to hold bones in place, and everyday activity if done repetitively in a way that increases tension on the ligament can weaken the tissue. Core muscle strength, good posture, attention to balanced motion in all the large muscles throughout the back, abdomen and legs can help reduce the day to day stress on ligaments, particularly in the knees.
For sports or for the every day, health is important. SportsMed Physical Therapy in Fair Lawn NJ can help keep you running strong.