If you caught Blog #13, you’d remember that I said how important it was to strengthen the quads during ACL reconstruction rehab; and how doing so leads to better knee function & quality of life and less chance of knee re-injury.
At the time I was writing that blog I was thinking to myself, how nice it would be write a positive PROACTIVE blog for once discussing ways to reduce the risk of ACL injury, rather than write REACTIVE blogs suggesting ways to help ACL injury outcomes and ACL reconstruction outcomes.
Well I decided to do something about it, and here is that blog..
You may not be surprised by this, but a lot of research is published on ACL injury. But what may surprise you is that a large percentage of this body of research is actually aimed around trying to find out ways to prevent ACL injuries from occurring in the first place. The reason being that an ACL injury can significantly impact on a person’s function and quality of life in both short & long terms.
What the research consistently shows is that ACL injury prevention programs (also referred to in research as neuromuscular training programs) can’t eliminate the risk of all ACL injuries; but can significantly reduce the risk of ACL injuries, with once very recent high quality paper showing that 50% of all types of ACL injuries (contact & non-contact mechanisms, males and females) and 67% of non-contact ACL injuries in females can be reduced with the regular implementation of ACL injury prevention programs (Webster & Hewett, 2018).
As an added benefit, neuromuscular training programs have a flow on effect to lower the risk of other types of lower limb injuries - ankle sprains (40% reduced risk) and all lower limb injuries (22% reduced risk) (Finch et al, 2016, Grimm et al, 2016).
What’s even more impressive is that neuromuscular training has the ability to make players run faster and jump higher!
Research into the FIFA 11+ injury prevention program in young soccer players, has shown that doing the program significantly improved balance, jumping and sprint performance measures (Ayala et al, 2017).
However, despite the ability for injury prevention programs/neuromuscular training to decrease a range of lower limb injuries and improve performance measures, research also shows that there are issues with overall understanding and awareness of these programs existing.
More concerning is that, in those that actually know that these injury prevention programs existing, program adoption and adherence in some populations is low (mostly young amateur athletes & recreational athletes). Anecdotally, a common reason for lack of adoption is “lack of time”.