Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injuries are on the rise. In the last 20 years ACL tear rates have increased by about 2.3% in athletes aged 6-18 each year. Additionally, according to the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine, about 150,000 ACL injuries occur in the United States every year. Currently in the NFL as of August 14th, 2018, there are 9 players physically unable to perform because of ACL injuries, 8 players currently on injured reserve due to ACL tears, and 10 players questionable to play who are still under diagnosis or awaiting imaging/ results.
These statistics are staggering and raises the question, why?
For starters, the ACL, among other functions, is heavily involved when slowing down from a run or sprint helping prevent forward movement of the shin from coming out under the femur. It is centrally located between the femur and tibia, attaching to the anterior aspect of the tibia and the posterior aspect of the femur.
The ACL attachment points make it an important preventer of inappropriate motion. It is also relevant to point out that ligaments are the second line of defense in regard to stabilization. The first line of stabilization is the muscular system.
With ACL injuries on the rise and ligaments are the second line of defense preventing inappropriate motion, a lack of muscular integrity could be a major contributing factor. What causes reduction in muscular integrity? Stress, overtraining, improper mechanics, lack of stability, and overuse all play a role. Furthermore, how do we improve muscular integrity? How do we improve function? How do we improve stability? Read our previous posts to understand more and look out for more posts regarding ACL injuries in the future.