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An Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injury is every athlete’s worst nightmare. However, there are things you can do to protect yourself and make sure you stay in the game.
ACL injuries are common among all athletes, but especially those who play football and soccer. They can occur from impact or pivoting while running. Most people who suffer an ACL tear will either hear or feel a popping sensation in their knee, pain, swelling and loss of range of motion. The best way to diagnose an ACL tear is through and MRI.
The most common cause of ACL injuries outside of impact are due to not stretching and lack of strength in the lower extremities. It’s important to have adequate strength in your hips and thighs to provide support for your knees. Squats and lunges in particular are good for building strength in those areas.
It’s also important to warm up prior to activity. This makes sure your blood is circulating to your muscles and joints. Stretching before and after practice will also help you maintain ideal form and prevent injury.
The best way to prevent an ACL injury is to make sure you focus on the quality of your movements. Don’t let a packed schedule of practices and games make you careless! Make sure you are well rested so you can perform at your best.
If you do suffer from an ACL injury, don’t panic! Thanks to new advances in surgical intervention, physical therapy and strengthening programs, many athletes are making it back to their sport faster than ever!