As an expert in ACL injury prevention, I've heard some interesting comments and perspectives about the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) over the years. There's a lot of mis-information floating around, unfortunately; and with such a serious and devastating injury at stake, we need to get the facts straight so we can start protecting our athletes better.
Let's start with some myths that you might have heard...
Myth #1 | Wearing a brace will prevent an ACL injury
Unfortunately, wearing a brace will not stop you from tearing your ACL.
If you haven’t been through a surgery or another injury in which a brace was recommended, then you probably shouldn’t self-treat with a brace. Unnecessary bracing could result in muscle inhibition or weakness from becoming dependent on the brace for support.
If you have been prescribed a knee brace by a sports medical professional, then follow their instructions. YOU might need a brace for support or stability. However, understand that an injury can still happen even with a brace on, so don’t forget to strengthen your body on the inside.
Myth #2 | I train nearly everyday, so I don't need extra exercises for injury prevention
Athletes and parents often make the mistake of thinking that playing a sport replaces core strengthening or injury prevention exercises. In fact, the opposite is true – playing the sport too frequently, or focusing on skills rather than a strong foundation, can result in muscle imbalance and compensations that lead to injury.
It’s important for athletes to stop and focus on strengthening the weak areas, and stretching the tight areas. If not identified and resolved, then the imbalances will progressively worsen.
A good injury prevention program involves a particular strategy of exercise, called neuromuscular training, that you don’t get from playing your sport or lifting weights. You have to follow specific exercises, perform them correctly, and progress appropriately.
Myth #3 | Strengthening your Quads will help prevent knee injuries
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