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ACL Injury Prevention: Keeping Our Athletes Healthy, Safe and in the Game

Publish Date: Wed, September 13, 2017 - 10:42:00

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Rock Valley physical therapist Luke Acklie, PT, OCS, SCS, CSCS, has been a physical therapist in the Peoria area for more than 15 years, specializing in treating individuals with orthopedic and sports-related injuries with an emphasis on sport-specific training.   As such, Luke has had extensive interaction with a range of athletes, coaches, parents, and physicians regarding the topic of ACL prevention.

Prevention is becoming more important as the youth are starting sports earlier, and competition becomes more intense. Acklie explains, “This is a common injury, but if we have the opportunity to screen our athletes to identify those with high risk, we can mitigate injury by training correct movement patterns and correcting muscle imbalances.”

To identify those that are “at-risk” for possible ACL injury the team:

  • Conducts musculoskeletal screening to identify muscle imbalances
  • Performs video analysis of sport specific motions

These efforts help therapists identify trends and habits in sport specific movements like jumping, landing, decelerating, and cutting which if not performed correctly place the athlete at risk for injury.  Factors identified to predispose athletes to ACL injuries with jumping and landing include: landing with knees in front of toes, landing with unequal weight between legs, landing with knees rotated in, or landing with legs stiff with decreased hip and knee bend.  Studies have demonstrated that neuromuscular training addressed at improving these positions help to prevent ACL tears.

Many, including Acklie, agree that we have an epidemic on our hands. Groups such as STOP (Sports Trauma and Overuse Prevention) Sports Injuries (http://www.stopsportsinjuries.org/) are geared towards providing guidance on healthy and safe athletic participation. “It is important that we continue to work with parents, coaches and schools to adopt safe prevention and training programs,” says Acklie. “At Rock Valley Physical Thearpy we are committed to being part of the solution for our athletes by identifying those at risk, training away from the motion and coaching them into better performance.”

ACL injuries don’t discriminate.  Although females are at a higher risk for this injury, males still suffer ACL tears and it can take anywhere from 6 to 12 months to fully recover if injury occurs and surgery is needed.

The Rock Valley Physical Therapy team is dedicated to supporting athletes of all ages to equip them with the right training and tools for prevention.

Learn more about Rock Valley Sports Performance.

Therapy comes in many forms, and your evaluation is the first step in developing a plan of care to get you back to your healthy self. Contact us today and we will be in contact with you to secure a date and time that works best for your schedule.  In both Illinois and Iowa you do not need a phyician's referral to come in for an evaluation!

Luke Acklie, PT, OCS, SCS, CSCS

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