ACL rehab and injury prevention: train the landing and what to look for

Attention all coaches, trainers, and other fitness coaches who work with youth athletes: We must do a better job of training the “landing” or eccentric phase of jumping as a majority of ACL injuries are NON contact. In the US alone, it is estimated that 20,000 to 80,000 high school female athletes experience ACL injuries each year, with most in soccer and basketball. Studies also reveal that young female athletes are four to six times more likely than boys to suffer a serious non-contact ACL injury. What can we do to help? Knees coming together or stiff legged are 2 common characteristics of athletes who may be prone to injury of their ACL’s.  As a sports medicine Physical Therapist, looking at the entire lower leg is key to a fully functional knee.

Watch the video below and notice the “clean” landing: no collapsing of the knees (valgus force) and a soft landing with the knees bending. Some athletes land almost stiff-legged, placing an immense amount of torque at the knee. Record your athletes landing and notice if there is knee collapsing (increased valgus), if so it needs to be corrected. KNEES COMING TOGETHER is a huge factor in ACL and other knee injuries.
Let me know if you need assistance in evaluating and prescribing corrective exercises~

Ed Deboo, PT

Physical Therapy, Bellingham, Wa


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