According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, athletes with ACL injuries are up to 10 times more likely to get knee osteoarthritis early and 50 percent of ACL patients will develop knee arthritis in 10 to 20 years. The AAOS confirms that knee arthritis is one of the five leading causes of disability in older men and women. That’s why the Illinois Athletic Trainers Association (IATA) and Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush (MOR) are stressing the importance of ACL injury prevention programs and exercises. Research shows that by strengthening the muscles around the knee and improving strength, agility, balance and flexibility, athletes can reduce their risk of ACL injuries. As part of the Knees For Life prevention program, the Illinois Athletic Trainers Association and Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush (MOR) sports medicine physicians, are offering a downloadable brochure of prevention exercises and complimentary gym bag tags that provide easy-to-understand instructions for warm-up exercises that any athlete can do before play. This program will focus on providing exercises to improve strength, agility, balance, coordination and flexibility, and will decrease the risk of an ACL injury. To obtain your free gym baggage tags with ACL prevention exercises, log on to: KneesforLife.org.
How can you prevent an ACL injury?
Besides the exercises provided in the downloadable brochure, the IATA and MOR also recommend the following prevention tips:
- Always engage in pre-season endurance training.
- Rest and recover between workouts.
- Wear proper protective equipment, including footwear.
- Always hydrate before, during and after practice or game.
- If pain occurs, discontinue sport and see a board-certified physician.