My first blog post is coming to you in regards to the most dreaded of injuries, the ACL tear, and how to prevent it.
First off, a little about myself. I am a kinesiology student at the University of Minnesota. I have been in school for the better part of a decade and am one semester away from graduation. I have finished all of my kinesiology classes and finishing up some prerequisites so I can continue my education and get my M.S. in Exercise Physiology. I have played and coached a lot of my lacrosse in my days and I hope to help pass some of my knowledge onto everyone.
Let’s start with a little information regarding the injury. The ACL or anterior cruciate ligament tear is most common among females due to a result in the ‘Q’ angle. The ‘Q’ angle is the angle at which the femur connects to the tibia. The greater the angle the more likely someone is to tear their ACL. Unfortunately, no one has any control over their genetics.
Other factors such as surface and shoe type can also effect the capacity to tear the ACL. Most commonly torn ACLs occur as a result of non-contact injuries. This tends to happen when there is a valgus force accompanied by an external rotation. The valgus force in particular is a force where pressure on the outside of knee forces the knee to bend inward. This can be caused by jumping and landing awkwardly, making sharp cuts, or being hit on the side.
Any of these situations can happen throughout the course of a lacrosse game.
There is no way to guarantee that this injury won’t happen, but I am going to give you tips to help prevent the injury.
The first tip is to hit the gym. Understand when I say hit the gym, you must do so in an appropriate and controlled manner. The ratio of quadricep to hamstring strength is a big factor. Although there is no idea what the best ratio is, it is known that the quadricep group needs to be stronger than the hamstring.
Exercises designed to improve strength in these muscle groups include: back squat, front squat, deadlifts, single legged squats, lunges and step-ups.
The next tip is in regards to footwear. Most footwear is produced with the minimal amount of arch support in them. The fine people at Nike (my shoe of choice) chooses not to invest more money in arch support. The simple reason, we are all different. In order to correct for this there are companies that specifically design arch support for different activities. I would suggest going to your local running store and be properly fitted for these arches.
My third tip (this will probably start some problems amongst players and coaches) is to not do change of direction sprints. The theory behind this says that as you begin sprinting you muscles become loose and do not protect the ligaments as well. Once the change of direction occurs there is not much protection.
Yes, that is correct. I said the looser the muscles, the more likely you are to hurt something.As I mentioned before, there is no way to completely guarantee ACL protection. The previous tips are given in an attempt to better understand prevention
and to help you in any way I can.
Until next time,
How’d you guys like Barry’s first post?
I thought it gave great insight. I come from a family that has a lot of ACL injuries. I have torn my ACL, my older brother has done it, and my other brother has done it three times!
Take Barry’s TIPS to heart.
However, being out of sports for six plus months doesn’t seem necessary either!
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Want more tips from Barry? Disagree with his perspectives? Sound off in the comments below!