ACL Tears: Who is at risk and what to do about it?

Sports Injury Clinic Louisville, KY Recovery By Physical Therapy

Prevalence of ACL Tears

According to the Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine there are about 150,000 ACL tears per year in the US. They also account for more than $500 million in health care costs.  Common ACL injuries include a sprain or tear of the anterior cruciate ligament. When the ACL is torn it leaves the knee unstable and unable to perform high intensity sports that involve running and cutting activities. In most cases surgery is required to restore normal knee functions and stability. There is also a long recovery of about 6-12 months before being able to return to sports.

Who is at risk?

Athletes playing high intensity sports such as football, basketball, soccer, and lacrosse account for the majority of the ACL injuries in the US. Athletes who play high-intensity sports commonly injure their ACLs through either contact or non-contact mechanisms. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, about 70 percent of ACL injuries in athletes happen through non- contact mechanisms such as pivoting, cutting, sidestepping, out of control play or awkward landings, while about 30 percent of ACL injuries occur from actual contact with other players. While males account for more ACL tears by volume, female athletes are actually 2-8 more times likely to tear their ACL than males.

Some of the factors that contribute to female’s increased risk:

  • Increased joint laxity
  • Increased Q-angle (female anatomy of the hips and knees)
  • Imbalances of quad-hamstring strength ratio

Other factors that put both males and females at risk include:

  • Poor core strength
  • Poor lower extremity control with jumping, landing, and cutting activities
  • Previous knee or other lower extremity injuries
  • Previous ACL tear

How to prevent ACL injuries

With proper training you can decreased your risk for ACL tears and other knee injuries. Precision Physical Therapy offers the Sportsmetric Training program. Sportsmetrics is backed by research and scientifically proven to reduce your risk for serious knee injuries. This program is guided by a trained and Sportsmetric certified physical therapist to include functional screening, video analysis, and sports specific agility testing. The training program is a combination of plyometric jump training, strength training, flexibility, and speed and agility training to improve overall athletic performance as well as decreased risk for injury. The athletes will receive education on proper training techniques and be able to track their progress throughout the program. Research has shown the benefit of Sportsmetrics with decreasing your risk for injuries and improving athletic performance.

For additional information about this training program and if it is right for you or someone you know Contact Us at Precision Physical Therapy and don’t get caught on the sidelines.


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