A typical sports practice continues about two hours and seems a little something like this:
Jog around the field a few times
Stand in a circle and do a few stretches
Spend the next hour and fifty minutes practicing the sport.
The shortage of a proper warm up is enough to injure your athletes. Tack onto it the fact that your athletes lack the capacity to move safely and efficiently, and you are asking for your star player to be out for the rest of the season.
Female athletes are at a severe disadvantage when we look at the lower body and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries of the knee. I wish to touch on three common ones who will get you, the coach or parent, going on the correct course.
1. Lack of strength:
Sure, you might already understand that girls are feebler than guys. However, the acute lack of bizarre strength is hurting these young women. (Strange power can be defined as negative force where the muscle becomes longer under tension. For instance, when the foot hits the earth to cut and change direction, the hip, knee, and ankle joints all bend (flex) and experience bizarre forces. They contract difficult to stop the body from moving, but the muscle is, in fact, becoming longer.) Most girls are excessively reduced to make force into the ground to run. Now, we are requesting them to stop and change directions on a dime. The quantity of strange do not that happens with that movement is tremendous.
2. Appropriate running type:
Some people do not think that jogging technique can play a big part in sports performance development. Well, it can, especially when we are speaking about running safely and efficiently. Below is a graph of the amount of force placed on the ACL during the walking cycle. As you can see, the most force is really on the ACL when the heel hits the ground. There’s not as much force as the foot rolls through to the toe-off period (1).
Most girls are inclined to run in a heel-to-toe manner, which, as we now understand from the graph, sets the maximum quantity of force on that ACL ligament. When the female athlete tries to slow down to cut and alter direction, that heel strikes the ground first (because her running technique is poor and she has poor strength), placing much torque on the ACL.
3. Anterior pelvic tilt:
This is extremely typical and something that most athletes don’t even understand they have. A swayed lower back usually defines anterior pelvic tilt (APT). What does this tell us about the athlete? First, she has tight hip flexors and weak hamstrings. Second, she also has tight lower back muscles and poor abdominals.
Being in this position does not allow for very great knee drive during sprinting. Because there isn’t much knee drive, the sportsman is heel hitting (mentioned previously). The weak hamstrings and glutes are not working properly, which makes the athlete having to compensate by using other muscles and ligaments to support the load. The weak abdominals are another straw breaking the camels back.
These three things are so very common in our active female athletes. Over 70% of ACL injuries are non-contact in nature, meaning the harm did not happen as a result of coming in contact with another athlete. The majority of these non-contact injuries come from the sportsman decelerating rapidly and putting or cutting the foot (2). (The Q angle of the femur does play a role in ACL injuries mainly because of the strain it places on the knee and ACL. There are quite a couple of articles and resources out there regarding the Q angle, so I decided not to address it in this article.)
By addressing the problems above, we can decrease the threat of ACL injuries in female athletes. Strengthen your athletes the right way and teach them the best way to go properly. We are doing these girls a disservice if we continue to overlook these dilemmas by practicing more and running them into the earth. Begin now with a sound foundation.
ShelburneK, PandyM, AndersonF, TorryM (2002)Anterior cruciate ligament forces in the complete knee during normal pace.
Padra Darin (2004) Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injury Prevention.” TheACC.com 1 Oct. 2004.