Why are ACL Tears so Common in Young Athletes?

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is the tough band of tissue that connects the shin bone to the thigh bone. Located in the middle of the knee, it helps stabilize this weight-bearing joint. Overstretching or tearing this ligament is particularly common in young athletes, but there are ways to reduce this risk. If you or one of your family members suffer from an ACL tear, turn to the trusted physicians at The Orthopedic Institute at JFK Medical Center.

Risks of ACL tears
It’s often thought that the prevalence of ACL injuries in athletes has grown, especially in young athletes, because of social pressure. Sometimes athletes are pressured to play at a competitive level year-round, instead of taking prolonged breaks from their sport during the off-season. Primarily playing just one sport, rather than a diverse range of activities, contributes to the risk of injuries. ACL tears may be more likely to affect you, if you have been athletic from an early age.

Reasons for ACL injury prevalence in women
Female athletes are at a higher risk of ACL injuries than male athletes are. More research is needed in this area, but some orthopedic specialists think that the higher levels of estrogen in females affect the ligaments in a way that make them more susceptible to injuries.

Another emerging theory is that biomechanics are different in women. In other words, when women jump, they are more likely to land with their knees slightly turned inward. Women tend to bend their knees less when jumping and landing and they also tend to maintain rigidity of the feet, directing them away from their center of gravity.

Tips for preventing ACL tears
Everyone, including parents, coaches and physical therapists play an important role in preventing ACL tears in athletes. For instance, parents can make sure their children get plenty of rest in the off-season, avoid overtraining and diversifying their sport activities. With the help of coaches and physical therapists, athletes can learn the proper techniques for running, jumping and landing.

For high quality, patient-centered orthopedic care in Atlantis, trust the specialists at The Orthopedic Institute at JFK Medical Center. Here, you can find all the healthcare services your family needs under one roof—from emergency care to surgical services to personalized rehabilitation programs. For more information or a physician referral, call us 24/7 at 561-548-4JFK (4535) or visit www.JFKMC.com.

Categories: Emergency, Orthopedics