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Protecting the ACL


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After reading the thread on ACL recon, I was reading up a bit on the ACL and how it gets torn--ha, might as well since it's a common injury in this sport, right? So I have some questions(I've never had any problems with mine btw)

This info is from wikipedia--

"Main Reason For Female ACL Tears

Several reasons are posited for the higher prevalence of ACL injuries in female athletes. One potential cause is women's preferential use of the quadriceps femoris muscle for jumping as compared to the hamstrings in men, which provides an opposing force that decreases the strain on ACL. Additionally, as a result of the increased angle formed by a woman's hips and her knees, the ligaments are generally under more stress than those of a man."

What does it mean to use the quad instead of ham for jumping? How would I work on using the ham more? (as a woman). I just started doing some plyo with jumping squats for instance(straight up and 180), any benefit there to "jump" better and strengthen the leg better to protect the knee? (I'm thinking yes) I'm also doing the basic squat/lunge/dead lift stuff with free weights. Is the ham issue with women just because they are naturally weaker there because of different hip ergos--woudl strengthening the hams help that?

"When an athlete tears an ACL and has reconstruction surgery, the quadriceps are one of the most important muscles to strengthen at therapy, however in rehabilitation it is the hamstrings that are the most important muscle to strengthen because hamstrings control forward translation of the tibia, which is the same role of the ACL. By strengthening the hamstrings you are relieving some of the tension in the ACL."

SO for protecting the ACL it's good to be mindful of having strong quads/hams, being balanced(I know sounds obvious, but good to know strong stuff helps.

Anything else to work your legs to help protect your ACL/knee stuff?

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Well, I guess it helps of course but you never know when you'll get bit. I used to race mtn bikes competitively and have since ran for fitness to my quads/hammies have always been my best assets. However, when I crash, I do it BIG and nothing was going to save my knee. I tore everything and broke my femur.

Also, I've read about so many ACL tears on here where people put their foot down in a corner and tore the ACL or (1) guy tore his when he went off what he said was a tiny lil jump and he didn't crash. Just felt the 'pop' on the landing. I think it's one of those "when it's your turn" kind of deals.

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The long and the short of it is this: to decrease the incidence of ACL tears in female athletes, they are doing proprioceptive training. Plyometrics and bosu ball training to help with learning where the body is in space, so that you can land in a protected position. Anyhow, to protect the acl, hamstring strengthening is good. If you want good explosive jumping power, you need the quads and hip extensors to be strong. The hamstrings cross the knee joint and function (obviously?) to bend the knee, so they don't contribute to jumping.

aj

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thank aj, I'm doing that so looks I'm on track. I do have beefy hams naturally, so hopefully that helps too. I was surprised to learn women are so much more susceptible to getting it torn!

k2, I'm a trail rider so yes I'm really careful about keeping the feet on the pegs, and not planting a foot to save me in a turn I screw up.

Ha, I've had to learn to stand different kinda, with a little bend to the knees, I have a couple big dogs that will get excited and whirl and whack me in the knees and that hurts when it gets hit from the front!

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