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Skip The Injury With An ACL Prevention Program!

By Rich Banton, PT, DPT, OCS, CMPT, ATC, CDN | February 28, 2017

We’ve all heard of the horror stories – a rising star athlete at the peak of his/her performance ending the season, or possibly career, due to an Anterior Cruciate Ligament {ACL} tear. Luckily, there are many types of preventative ACL protocols available to athletes, but it can be difficult weeding out the good from the bad.

BUT FIRST, LET’S LEARN SOME STATISTICS:
  • Approximately 4% of athletes that participate in multi-directional sports {i.e. soccer, football, basketball, etc.} will suffer an ACL injury
  • Women are 4 times more likely to injury their ACLs as compared to males
  • Once injured, 40-80% of these injuries will result in long-term issues as the individual ages

These statistics demonstrate why it’s so vital as a young or aging athlete to protect the ACL! How can do you reduce the risk of ACL traumas? Research suggests that by enrolling in an ACL prevention program prior or during season reduces the risk of an ACL trauma.

ACL PREVENTION PROGRAMS ARE DESIGNED WITH THE FOLLOWING GOALS:
  1. Identify and modify abnormal movement patterns of the athlete
  2. Identify and enhance neuromuscular imbalances of the athlete

The best ACL prevention programs should include a variation of strength, agility, balance, flexibility, and plyometric training. The primary difference between the program’s effectiveness is the inclusion or exclusion of balance and flexibility. Programs that emphasized too much balance training, and too little flexibility training, were less likely to reduce ACL injuries.

This chart demonstrates the components and duration of ACL prevention programs that were most effective at preventing ACL injuries.

Components Duration/Session Frequency/Week/Month
Strengthening 20 Minutes 3-5 Days For 1 Month
Flexibility 6 Minutes 2-4 Days For 1 Month
Agility 10 Minutes 3-5 Days For 1 Month
Plyometrics 12 Minutes 3-4 Days For 1 Month
Balance 12 Minutes 3-5 Days For 1 Month

Preventative ACL programs at Virginia Therapy and Fitness Center {VTFC} utilize evidence-based research, including the information above, to create custom-designed ACL prevention programs. This results in maximized athletic performance and the best results in reducing the risk of an ACL tear.

If you are interested in enrolling your team or athlete into an injury prevention program or you are currently suffering from an ACL injury, consult with one of our physical therapists.

About The Authors

Rich Banton, PT, DPT, OCS, CMPT, ATC, CDN

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