Tips to Prevent ACL Tears for Children
In recent years, we have seen a dramatic increase in ACL injuries among children. This could stem from a few factors, including an overall increase in sport involvement for children, and the tendency for children to play a single sport, as opposed to many sports with more diverse movements. Whatever the case, the rise in ACL tears is too high to ignore.
That being the case, if your child plays sports, you will want to encourage them to warm up before practice with these techniques in order to strengthen the muscles that surround the anterior cruciate ligament:
1 – Running Warm Ups
Depending on the sport that your child plays, running may or may not be an integral part to both practice and games. However, not only one type of running exists.
Normal, forward running is important for a few reasons. Assuming that during a warm up, you don’t work yourself too hard, this help to loosen up.
Backward running involves some muscles that forward running does not stress. You want to keep your knees slightly bent at all times and stay on your toes for the best results.
Lastly, the shuttle run helps to strengthen hip muscles, discouraging overuse of the ACL. Since this is a difficult warm up to explain in writing, check out this video for a quick tutorial.
2 – Stretching Warm Ups
Stretching various muscles in your legs helps to utilize these muscles for support, as opposed to the ACL alone. Hip, quadriceps, inner thigh, hamstring and calves all help to support your body in various sporting positions, so you want to ensure that each of these muscles has a good range of motion.
Have your children talk to their coaches, personal trainers, physical therapists or gym teachers for proper instruction about the following stretches:
Inner Thigh Stretch
These professionals should also be able to inform about additional stretches and exercises to strengthen crucial leg muscles to aid in supporting your body with the ACL.