What is the ACL?
The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is one of the most commonly injured ligaments in sports. Injury to this ligament is especially common in high demand sports like soccer, football, and basketball that require a lot of cutting, agility, and balance.
What causes ACL Tears?
ACL tears & sprains can be caused by changing direction rapidly, stopping suddenly, slowing down while running (deceleration), landing from a jump incorrectly, or direct contact or collision (such as a football tackle).
Why are Females at Higher Risk of ACL Tears?
Several studies have shown that female athletes have a higher incidence of ACL injury than male athletes in certain sports. It has been proposed that this is due to differences in physical conditioning, muscular strength, and neuromuscular control. Other suggested causes include differences in pelvis and lower extremity (leg) alignment, increased looseness in ligaments, and the effects of estrogen on ligament properties.
Since the implementation of Title IX legislation in 1972 allowing equal opportunity for girls and women to participate in sports, there has been a significant increase in the number of females participating in competitive sports. However, the total number of injuries has also increased. Studies have shown that a female soccer player's risk of sustaining an ACL injury is two to eight times greater than her male counterpart. Subsequent studies have shown that adding neuromuscular and proprioceptive exercises to the training regimen can reduce the number of ACL injuries by two to four-fold.