Magazine article USA TODAY

Strategies to Reduce Noncontact ACL Injuries

Magazine article USA TODAY

Strategies to Reduce Noncontact ACL Injuries

Article excerpt

An estimated 80,000 anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears occur annually in the U.S., with the majority of these knee injuries sustained by 15- to 25-year-olds. The cost of repairing these injuries is almost $1,000,000,000 each year. With 70% of ACL injuries happening in noncontact situations, the ability to identify risk factors and form prevention strategies has widespread health and fiscal importance.

Noncontact ACL injuries occur due to environmental factors such as equipment and shoe surface interaction; anatomic factors, including knee and hip angle; hormonal factors; and biomechanical factors such as muscular strength, skill level, and body movement. While the basic mechanism that causes contact ACL injuries is well-researched, the mechanism that causes noncontact ACL injuries is still unknown. The activities most associated with significant risk levels for noncontact ACL injuries usually have extensive pivoting, decelerating, awkward landings, and rough or "out of control" play.

"Although we don't know the exact risk factors for noncontact ACL injuries, we do know that prevention programs that emphasize balance and motor skills show promise as a way to decrease noncontact ACL injuries," notes Atlanta orthopedic surgeon Letha Y. …

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