What is an ACL Tear?
ACL tears are one of the most common injuries that affect the anterior cruciate ligament of your knee. Sportsmen playing high-impact sports like basketball, athletics, football, hockey are at a high risk of tearing their ACL, but ACL tears cannot be wholly categorized as a sports injury, a person going for a brisk walk or jogging can also tear his/her anterior cruciate ligament.
How does this injury happen?
Popular, Dr. Amyn Rajani feels that sportsmen often get this injury when they stop and quickly change their direction while running. Sudden change in direction could lead to twist and a loud pop or a popping sensation in the knee.
ACL Tear in Females
Statistics show that women are 2-10 times more likely tothan their male counterparts.
Let’s have a look at the reasons for the same:
- Anatomical Differences: There are many anatomic differences between men and women, major being…the intercondylar notch difference, (an intercondular notch is a groove at the bottom of the femur) something which is larger in men than in women. This narrow intercondylar notch restricts the movements in the ACL, especially while twisting and playing high-impact shots.
- Hormonal Differences: Scientific studies have linked ACL tears to female menstrual cycle. They believe that female athletes are susceptible to such injuries and extreme knee pain during their first cycle, before ovulation.
- Biomechanical Differences: The way bodies move and react differ from gender to gender. A woman’s knee is more flexible than that of a man’s and therefore they are bound to put more pressure on them with chances of increased strain on surrounding muscles, tendons and ligaments
- Landing Position Differences: When women land from a jumping position, they tend to land straight; therefore the exertion of force on the knee joint is extremely high. Men on the other hand, land with knees bent a little and therefore the pressure gets equally distributed on all parts of the knee.
- Valgus Alignment Differences: Knocked-knees are always prone to ACL tears than compared to bow-legged knees where the stress on the knees is less and there is no problem of hypertension.
ACL Tear Surgery
ACL injury varies from patient to patient and whether he requires adepends on the patient’s activity level, degree of injury and instability symptoms.
Tips to prevent those dreaded ACL Tears:
- Always warm up before playing: A ritual that you must compulsorily follow before practice and matches. Warm up will help in good circulation of blood to your muscles and knee joints.
- Stretch: A workout is never complete without a good stretching session. You need to stretch the muscles you have exerted force on while performing different exercises. Stretching is also necessary post your matches and cardio drills.
- Squats: It is surprising how squat exercises are not a part of most of the sportsperson’s regular workout schedule. Squatting will help you activate the muscles needed to perform different movements like jumping, bending, pushing off the ground etc.
- Strengthen: Hip and thigh strengthening exercises before matches will provide your knees the support it needs to survive a day long match.